Feature Article

September 12, 2013

Virgin America Teams with Gogo for Faster Wi-Fi

Everyone is searching for the fastest Internet speed that they can find. Most cable companies and satellite providers offer what they call “blazing speeds.” Now, Gogo will take its in-flight Internet services to new “blazing speeds” of its own when it introduces a 60Mbps system called Ground to Orbit for Virgin America fliers. Soon, people will truly be connected everywhere.

This new 60Mbps speed is said to be faster than most people’s home service and a staggering 20 times faster than the company’s previous 3.1Mbps offered to passengers in the beginning phases of onboard    Wi-Fi services. One year ago, Gogo decided to improve its Internet by upping the Internet speed from 3.1Mbps to 9.8Mbps.

The new Ground to Orbit system will use ground-based transceivers to upload data and existing satellites for downloading to passengers. The new antenna will be aerodynamic and is said to have less drag than previous antennas, which will reduce the amount of fuel used by aircrafts.

This news follows the JetBlue Airways’s announcement that it will soon be launching Internet services on selected flights before the end of the year and that it will make this available on all of its aircrafts by the end of 2015. Thanks to the new government approval of high-capacity satellite links on aircrafts, JetBlue will allow passengers to stream channels like Netflix or Hulu, which have traditionally been blocked by most other airlines. JetBlue plans to offer basic Internet for free to its passengers, but will charge for passengers to have access to Netflix or Hulu.

Virgin America has not announced what it will be charging for its new service. In the past, prices have been determined by Gogo, charging $14 for a single day pass and $50 for a monthly pass. The president and chief executive officer of Virgin America, David Cush, is excited about the new system and said, “GTO will be another leap forward in terms of speed and performance of in-flight Wi-Fi for their guests.”

For now, Virgin America seems to be the only airline planning on using the new Ground to Orbit system, but that will be probably be changing soon.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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