American Airlines new fleet to get 12Mbps connections for every seat

Chris Scott Barr - Jun 6, 2016, 8:58am CDT
American Airlines new fleet to get 12Mbps connections for every seat

Back in February, American Airlines sued the in-flight internet provider Gogo. The dispute was centered around a clause in the contract between the two that allowed the airline to terminate or renegotiate if they found a provider that offered better service. And if you’ve ever used Gogo, you know that it can’t be that hard to find something better.

American Airlines didn’t shut Gogo out, completely. They were given a chance to impress the company with their offerings, which includes the new 2Ku service. Unlike their previous service, 2Ku uses satellites to provide internet, rather than land-based towers. The service promises 70Mbps of bandwidth to be shared by the entire plane. While that does sound good, the airline found something better.

According to a press release from ViaSat, the in-flight ISP has landed a contract with American Airlines to provide internet services to their upcoming fleet of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. While these aircraft aren’t due to see the skies until September of next year, it’s a big win for ViaSat.

So why did American Airlines choose to go with ViaSat, when Gogo has a new satellite-based internet offering? Well, the company is offering 12Mbps speeds to every single seat on the aircraft, which is vastly superior to the 70Mbps connection that the entire plane has to share with Gogo’s 2Ku service.

With companies like ViaSat pushing speeds higher, established providers like Gogo are going to have to continue to innovate in order to keep airlines happy. And that’s a win for passengers, who are tired of paying for slow speeds and poor connections.


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