The speed of in-flight Wi-Fi services is set to improve after ViaSat received approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to install its Ka-band satellite system on Airbus A320 aircraft.
The certification applies to the installation of satellite antenna and radomes on the aircraft, which, when coupled with ViaSat’s in-cabin solution, will provide passengers with access to the some of the world’s fastest in-flight internet speeds.
“Reaching this milestone is significant as it sets a high bar for how to build and install a best in-flight internet service for global coverage,” said Don Buchman, ViaSat’s vice president & general manager of commercial mobility. “We now have FAA approval for our radome, antenna and in-flight cabin system, which gives airlines and passengers access to the real internet – not cached content – with the most reliable, scalable streaming capabilities.”
ViaSat’s Ka-band in-flight internet service is currently deployed on almost 500 commercial aircraft in the US, offering internet speeds that ViatSat claims are “typically eight to 10 times faster than any other in-flight Wi-Fi system”. Performance ranges from 12 to 20 Mbps to each connected device.
While this authorisation currently only applies to the US, other national aviation bodies often follow the FAA’s lead when it comes to policy and certification.