Qantas has announced a partnership with global broadband services provider ViaSat, which will use the nbn network to provide free Wi-Fi to passengers. The service will be up to 10 times faster than current on-board Wi-Fi; similar to what customers experience on the ground. This will allow passengers to not only check emails and social media, but stream movies, TV shows, news and live sports on domestic flights.
Trials will begin on a Qantas Boeing 737 aircraft in late 2016. Installations across Qantas Domestic’s fleet of A330s and B737s are expected to start in early 2017, which will include fitting the aircrafts with modems and advanced antennae to receive the satellite signal.
ViaSat will be providing connectivity using a high capacity KA-band satellite and ground stations, overcoming the challenges of finding a signal over the entirety of Australia’s landmass. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has stated that “bringing high-speed Wi-Fi to the domestic aviation market has been an ambition of ours for a long time and we now have access to the right technology to make it happen,” and that “this kind of inflight connectivity would also open up a lot of potential to improve in-flight entertainment, which we’re constantly looking to enhance.”
Qantas is additionally investigating high-speed Wi-Fi options for its international and regional fleet.