As customers demand big improvements in in-flight Wi-Fi service, Delta said this week it plans to more than double the number of aircraft in its fleet that are equipped with the latest generation of high-speed satellite links, and to bring live streaming TV to those aircraft as well.
The airline said it will extend Wi-Fi vendor Gogo’s new 2Ku satellite-based technology to an additional 350 aircraft, giving it a total of 600 planes with the fast connections. What’s more, “In late 2016, Delta will launch IPTV, giving customers the ability to watch live TV from their own devices on 2Ku-enabled aircraft,” Delta said.
Wi-Fi technology is moving faster than most airlines can keep up. Delta has almost finished installing the first-generation satellite-based Ku band technology on its international widebody fleet of 747s, 767s, 777s and A330s as well as long-haul 757s.
But that is being superseded by Gogo’s 2Ku system, which Delta says “will offer customers faster speeds and bandwidth more than 20 times that of Gogo’s ATG (air-to-ground) technology, allowing for video streaming functionality.” Gogo started out by offering only land-based ATG links, but has had to transition to satellites to keep up with the competition.
The airline said it has already started to install 2Ku systems on its 737-800 and A319 fleets, “and additional fleets will be retrofitted with the new system.” It expects to offer 2Ku on 35 planes by the end of this year. The 2Ku Wi-Fi will also be available on the new A330-900Neos and A350-900s that Delta has on order for delivery over the next few years, the company said.
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