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Wednesday, 18 April 2012 19:18

Inmarsat and Honeywell team to bring broadband to aircraft

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Global satellite network operator Inmarsat has teamed up with Honeywell to provide in-flight broadband Internet access to the world's airlines and private and government aircraft operators.

Under an exclusive partnership Honeywell - which already supports Inmarsat's current in-flight data service, SwiftBroadband - will develop, produce and distribute the onboard hardware that will enable users to connect to Inmarsat's Global Xpress satellites, scheduled for launch in 2013 and to start offering services in 2014.

Inmarsat claims the service will be able to deliver downlink speeds of 50 Mbps and uplink of 5Mbps per terminal - which in the case of an aircraft would likely be shared between all users on the flight.

Honeywell says that, by combining its satellite communication capabilities with Inmarsat's Global Xpress connectivity, "travellers will be able to do everything from real-time social media, to video conferencing and multi-media presentation development while in-flight virtually anywhere in the world, with an experience similar to being at home or in the office."

Tim Mahoney, president and CEO of Honeywell Aerospace, said: "Honeywell identified global aircraft connectivity as a future growth trend and through the combination of the recently acquired EMS Technologies' broad technology offerings and Honeywell's global aerospace franchise, the company is the perfect partner to launch the Inmarsat Global Xpress aerospace network."

Inmarsat announced plans for Global Xpress in August 2010, awarding a contract to Boeing for three Ka-band satellites that, it said, would deliver speeds of up to 50Mbps to mobile customers.

Inmarsat chairman and CEO, Andrew Sukawaty, said at the time: "Global Xpress will be faster and less expensive than current Ku-band market offerings, it will be delivered to smaller and cheaper terminals and be the first offered on a seamless, global, end-to-end basis with high-quality of service. Picture 50Mpbs services to a ship or aircraft, and 10Mbps to an antenna the size of an iPad (20cm)."

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