Advanced Television

Global Eagle IFE signs with Telesat’s LEO satellites

May 17, 2018

By Chris Forrester

Telesat of Canada is trialling its first Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) satellite ahead of launching a full global constellation starting in 2019.  It has secured In Flight Entertainment (IFE) business Global Eagle Entertainment (GEE) to collaborate with its LEO programme.

The pair will work to optimise Telesat’s LEO constellation to serve growing broadband demands coming from the aeronautical and maritime markets. Telesat has similar agreements in place with other operators including Optus.

GEE is an industry leader in satellite broadband and connected entertainment services for aviation, maritime, enterprise and government markets and provides satellite connectivity for single-aisle airliners worldwide, broadcasting live television services to aircraft and cruise ships, and providing content services to aviation.

This collaboration follows GEE’s comprehensive review of planned non-geostationary-orbit (NGSO) constellations. The review resulted in GEE concluding that Telesat’s innovative LEO system design can provide low latency, high throughput and global coverage — including polar and oceanic regions — to optimally deliver a consistent, responsive and scalable guest experience for airlines and cruise lines

Ottawa-based Telesat and GEE will work together on design and testing activities for Telesat’s planned LEO constellation using Telesat’s recently launched Phase 1 LEO satellite. The parties will focus on airline and large cruise ship applications in polar and high-latitude regions, and passenger use-cases globally that leverage sub-50 millisecond latency for data-intensive applications. For aviation, Global Eagle will be testing its newly developed Ka-band antenna.

Josh Marks, GEE’s CEO, said that GEE already used Telesat’s geostationary satellites to deliver high-performing wireless broadband to millions of airline and cruise passengers and that advanced LEO systems such as Telesat’s can offer important advantages for aviation and cruise markets, including consistent global coverage, very low latency, and gigabit connections.

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