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Inmarsat, Hughes seek free in-flight WiFi

October 27, 2020

By Chris Forrester

Reports have emerged that London-based satellite operator Inmarsat had “secretly” linked with Hughes Network System to collaborate on winning a major slice of the world’s in-flight broadband services, and bringing costs down to zero for travellers.

Inmarsat CEO Rupert Pearce described the link with Hughes (a business owned by Charlie Ergen’s EchoStar) as a “game changing collaboration”.

The reports are based on a new service called GX+ North America talks of combining Hughes Network’s Jupiter high-throughput satellite (HTS) constellation and tapping into bandwidth from Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellites.

The two major players were specific in their statement, saying that by combining their skills it would be possible over North America to meet an anticipated increased demand – post-Covid – from passengers who sought free in-flight WiFi.

“North American airlines no longer need to compromise on speed, reliability, availability or coverage for in-flight broadband, even when flying at full capacity over the busiest airport hubs. This also offers full flexibility for route planning, even on short notice, as the solution can cover any route worldwide through the GX global network — whether to Hawaii, Canada, Bermuda, the Caribbean, across the Gulf of Mexico, to Central and South America, across the Atlantic or even to the most extreme northern latitudes,” said Inmarsat in a announcement.

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