Gogo is quickly laying the groundwork to bring inflight high-speed Internet service to the long-haul fleets of Delta Air Lines and other carriers operating on international routes starting in early 2013, after inking a deal with satellite operator Intelsat, the APEX editor’s blog can exclusively reveal.
The multi-year, multi-transponder contract will see Gogo use Ku-band satellite capacity on Intelsat 19, Intelsat 21, Intelsat 22 and Intelsat 27 satellites, which are designed to provide high-speed connectivity for airline passengers crossing portions of the Atlantic and northern Pacific oceans, as well as routes over South America, Asia, Africa and Australia, says Gogo.
Intelsat 22 and Intelsat 19 are currently in service. Intelsat 21 was launched on 19 August of this year, and will operate at 302° East. Intelsat 27 is planned for launch in early 2013 and will be positioned at 304° East.
The deal comes less than six weeks after Panasonic Avionics announced it has contracted Intelsat for up to 1 Gbps of capacity on the satellite operator’s planned new ‘Epic’ Ku-band satellite platform. The arrangement calls for Panasonic’s current Ku-band supported Global Communications Suite (GCS) to be complemented by high throughput Ku-band capacity on Intelsat 29e – the first Intelsat Epic satellite – when the platform launches in 2015.
Gogo’s Ku-band inflight connectivity product will compete head-on in the Ku space against Panasonic’s GCS, as well as Row 44’s own Ku airborne connectivity solution.
Asked if the Gogo/Intelsat agreement revealed today covers any capacity on Epic, Gogo says the pact covers “the option to use Epic subject to further discussions”.
Gogo president and CEO Michael Small says: “We believe Intelsat brings to the table a long term commitment to providing ‘Aero’ solutions for the aviation market, including the recently announced Intelsat EpicNG, which we expect will allow us to provide the reliable and seamless satellite coverage our current and prospective airline partners must have to meet passenger demand for high-speed Internet access on transoceanic and other international flights.
“This agreement is expected to enable Gogo to provide a broad range of aircraft with a variety of technology solutions. Whether it’s our exclusive air-to-ground (ATG) and ATG-4 technologies, or advanced satellite technologies, we expect to offer a full range of connectivity solutions for any aircraft type or mission.”
Intelsat regional VP of North America sales Mark Rasmussen adds: “We expect Gogo to benefit from Intelsat’s global mobility network, which when complete in early 2013, will support worldwide aeronautical and maritime applications. Gogo requires robust and scalable broadband connectivity over a large geographic expanse. Intelsat is perfectly positioned to fulfil this requirement with a global satellite solution that includes our IntelsatOne infrastructure and the launch of our new Intelsat EpicNG platform, which will provide further options for the continued evolution of Gogo’s services.”
Gogo also holds a strategic memorandum of understanding with satellite operator SES, which “will provide satellite transponders to cover the US, Atlantic Ocean and Europe”, says Gogo.
A long time customer of Gogo’s ATG-based inflight connectivity solution in the United States, Delta Air Lines recently signed on as the launch customer for Gogo’s Ku-band Internet service for its long-haul international fleet of 150 aircraft. Gogo and Delta are looking to offer the service in early 2013.
(Photo from Gogo’s FaceBook fan page.)