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Europe ready for high-speed airline wi-fi

The European Aviation Network is undergoing final testing and will launch during the first half of 2018.

The European Aviation Network (EAN), a Europe-wide communications network for airline passengers, is undergoing final testing and will launch during the first half of 2018.

A “game-changing” joint project between the satellite company Inmarsat and Deutsche Telekom, EAN will be powered by an S-band satellite and a Europe-wide 300-base station LTE ground network.

The base stations are located in all 28 European Union member states, plus Switzerland and Norway.

The network will initially provide 75 Mbit/s connectivity – faster than many counties’ terrestrial broadband – allowing passengers to use social media and stream high-bandwidth content during their journeys.

Airlines will be able to install the lightweight EAN equipment quickly, Inmarsat says – even during overnight downtime for aircraft.

Already installing
International Airlines Group, owner of British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, LEVEL, Vueling and Avios Group, is the launch customer for the new service and has already started installing EAN equipment on its aircraft.

“EAN is the world’s first dedicated aviation connectivity solution which effectively combines space and ground-based components,” said Frederik van Essen, Inmarsat Aviation senior vice president.

“Bringing connectivity to the skies is a complex effort and we could only realise this through strategic collaboration with our European partners.”

EAN, which Inmarsat will jointly operate with Deutsche Telekom, will enable passengers to use their personal devices for internet browsing, streaming, gaming and other online services “with unmatched high-capacity performance”.

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