London-based satellite operator Inmarsat says its European Aviation Network (EAN) in-flight broadband system, and used by companies such as British Airways, is now capable of handling video and data at around 100 MB/s – and more.
Inmarsat launched its EAN system in March 2019 and anticipated peak traffic limits at about 75 Mb/s but says that while it anticipated EAN being the most sophisticated inflight broadband solution in Europe it was wary about claiming too much.
European airspace is – normally – densely occupied with dozens of extremely busy aircraft hubs very close to each other and demands from passengers being perhaps erratic.
Inmarsat now says that EAN has exceeded all expectations. “In total, 7.6 million British Airways passengers alone have been exposed to the service. There have been a significant number of sessions each day, with an average session lasting one hour and consuming 120MB. Over the wider International Airlines Group (IAG) this increases to 16.5 million passengers exposed to EAN, with a session lasting an hour on average and a data rate consumption at 150MB per session.”
Inmarsat says EAN is a complete game-changer for European aviation. At a time when an already busy airspace is predicted to get even more congested – before the current Covid-19 pandemic, the continent’s current one billion annual passengers was forecast to swell by half again to reach 1.5 billion come 2035 – EAN’s fast scalability, the quickest on the market, will enable capacity to be delivered where and when required, ensuring rising passenger expectations will be met. And because the system has an installation time of just seven hours, aircraft spend up to 80 per cent less time on the ground than with competing solutions. Which all helps when it comes to ROI.