Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic), a global player in inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC), has introduced a major advance in inflight connectivity with the entry into service of its first High Throughput Satellite (HTS) capacity over the Pacific Ocean.
The EUTELSAT 172B satellite, which launched in June, is operated by Eutelsat Communications. Leveraging its unique design, Panasonic will deliver greatly enhanced inflight broadband connectivity, live television and mobile phone services to aircraft flying high traffic routes across the Asia Pacific region spanning the West coast of North America to Asia, and down to Australia and the Pacific islands.
High Throughput Satellites use a combination of spot beams and high-level frequency re-use to provide much improved economics, more bandwidth and faster data speeds as passengers browse the internet and benefit from other online services, and airlines increasingly utilize connectivity for operational purposes. They also use a broad overlay beam, which is used to economically deliver up to nine channels of live television to passengers in flight.
Panasonic is layering HTS capacity over key air traffic areas across its global satellite network, ensuring it can meet the growing connectivity demands of airlines and their passengers. It will continue to introduce high throughput satellites in every region of the world.
In addition to this support for airlines and their passengers, Panasonic subsidiary, ITC Global, which leverages the Panasonic broadband network to deliver connectivity to its energy, maritime and enterprise customers, will also benefit from the new satellite’s significant HTS advancements and enhanced coverage provided through multiple widebeam footprints.
Maritime operators will now have improved coverage and availability across key Asia Pacific shipping routes using the powerful EUTELSAT 172B, with the faster data speeds enabling Asia’s continued growth in the global maritime sector. Oil and gas exploration customers across the region will also benefit from the new cost-effective HTS service for secure broadband networking to deliver more efficient operations and enhanced crew welfare solutions.
Hideo Nakano, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corp., said: “Today is a milestone event for Panasonic Avionics and our customers as we introduce a paradigm shift in inflight connectivity.
“Our service to the mobility market in Asia continues to grow exponentially. For the first time ever, airlines and passengers will reap the benefits of Ku-band HTS technology as they fly across the Pacific as well as up and down the coast of Asia into areas across Oceania. We are very excited to add this significant improvement to our global network and look forward to unveiling the new passenger experience and operational efficiency capabilities that are only possible with this truly unique satellite.”
Rodolphe Belmer, Eutelsat CEO, added: “EUTELSAT 172B’s entry into service is a milestone in the journey we’ve travelled with Panasonic since they shared with us their roadmap of connectivity requirements in Asia-Pacific. We’re proud to see our all-electric satellite get to work for a major client, delivering uniquely-designed capacity for in-flight and maritime connectivity and also ready to serve corporate network, cellular backhaul, video and government markets. From its strategic location at 172° East, EUTELSAT 172B is now open for business over land and sea from Alaska to Australia.”
EUTELSAT 172B is the first HTS to use a multi-port amplifier, which allows power to be dynamically moved among the HTS beams to meet demand. This ability for the HTS beams to “follow” aircraft and other mobile users enabling Panasonic to better meet customer demand and cost-effectively ensure consistently high levels of service in a way that other service providers cannot match.
The entry into service of EUTELSAT 172B coincides with the introduction of Panasonic’s new BC-03 modem, developed in conjunction with Newtec, which also caters for future demand by supporting speeds of up to 250 Mbps to aircraft. This includes three demodulators for seamless beam switching and simultaneous data and video reception.
Today, over 1,800 aircraft flying routes all around the world use Panasonic’s global high-speed inflight connectivity service. The company expects more than 10,000 aircraft expected to be connected to its world-class global high-speed communications network by 2025.