Fast on-board Wi-Fi is in the works for European flights

Flights within Europe are to be equipped with tech to provide passengers with fast internet connectivity. A joint venture between UK-based Inmarsat and operator Deutsche Telekom could well make flying that much more enjoyable with access to the outside world. The companies have announced a new framework that combines LTE and satellite networks to deliver high-speed internet called the European Aviation Network.

Similar to what Gogo provides in the US, Inmarsat will provide satellite coverage, while Deutsche Telekom will deploy 300 modified LTE sites that have a range of up to 80 kilometers and will be able to handle a plane travelling thousands of feet above. Lufthansa will be the first Europe-based airline to trial the new framework. 2017 will see the carrier's aircraft fitted with equipment to connect to satellite and ground LTE sites to provide reliable in-flight Wi-Fi.

Source: Inmarsat, via: Engadget

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • About time!
  • All I need on a flight.
  • Only problem its 4G and not wifi. So that means yes it will likely support european flights, but it will not be free, and you will likely have to pay a premium fee and it will start first class only. And it will only be German flights as the sponsor is Deutsche Telekom. So lots of yes, buts....
  • On board it will be WiFi, only the connection base-station <-> airplane is realised with 4G technology. The network deployed by Deutsche Telekom will cover the whole continent, not only Germany. Prices and the availability have to be determined.
  • I've been on flights with Internet access many times (not sure why this is "new") and they offer 10 minutes free, but after that you have to pay. I can't remember the cost, but it wasn't expensive - although it was more than I wanted to pay and opted instead to watch 3 movies ;) And no, it wasn't just in first class - this was in economy section, flying Emirates.
  • Norwegian Airlines offer free WiFi in economy on their flights.   I love that airline!
  • Isn't Deutsche Telekom T-Mobile? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • If it's similar to GoGo, then don't get your hopes up. It sucks.
  • Rmb to check in on facebook before the plane crash. It will be easier for search and rescue operation.
  • Norwegian Airlines already have free onboard WiFi - and it doesn't rely on ground stations.
    Yes, it isn't the quickest...but it is free, and it works over the ocean too.
  • Nice! No longer restricted to them meh inflight movies and TV shows, XBMC will now work while in the air :D However, this makes me wonder what would happen to all them inflight commercials that demand you to keep wireless connectivity turned off? What of Airplane button on all our gadgets, would that become history?
  • You have to turn it off only during landing/takeoff. Once you're in the air they don't care. I was on an Emirates flight 2 months ago and people could use their mobile phones (I think it was even possible to make calls with them) and WiFi on all devices... but they announced each time when you were able and not able to use them.
  • I wouldn't touch shared public WiFi with a million foot barge pole lol.