Feeds

Ofcom says yes to sat broadband on PLANES (and trains and ships)

28GHz frequency allocation to give 10Mb/sec during your flight

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

A generous allocation of 4,128 MHz worth of spectrum running from 27.5GHz to 30GHz (albeit not contiguous) will give data speeds of 50Mbit/sec to a single plane or ship and an estimated 10Mbit/sec per user thanks to a new frequency allocation from Ofcom.

The ruling allows "Earth station antennas" on moving vehicles which will connect to geostationary satellites. While this slice of spectrum gives a lot of bandwidth, a 44,000 mile (71,000km) round-trip means latency won't be great, making it much better for applications like file downloads and streaming than multiplayer games. But regulatory issues aside, it should still be completely practical to Skype.

Ofcom sees the new frequency as being most valuable to aircraft and shipping since they do not have the option of using cellular networks. They note that: "Recent advances in technology have improved the effectiveness of earth stations. Newer antennas are capable of maintaing very stable pointing accuracy allowing earth stations to track the satellite closely even when mounted on a fast moving vehicle."

Land-based vehicles such as trains and coaches will not need a licence. Planes and boats which cross international boundaries will, with planes being licensed through a variation of the Aircraft Radio licence issued on Ofcom’s behalf by the Civil Aviation Authority. Licensing of ship-mounted Earth stations, currently administered by Ofcom, will be effected through the variation of the Ship Radio licence.

The frequencies had previously been licensed for VSAT (very small aperture terminal) devices and quite a bit of infrastructure exists. The Ofcom ruling follows the CEPT (ECC Working Group Spectrum Engineering) work, which recommended the move from VSATs to Earth stations.

Ofcom expects services to be available in the next few months, but the infrastructure is still growing. Inmarsat launched its first Global Express satellite in December and has two more to launch.

Unlike most cellular frequencies the satellite spectrum is not allocated to individual operators but shared between them, of course the narrow link to a satellite makes this quite practical.

One of the operators who expects to provide service to airlines is OnAir. It uses the Inmarsat L band system to offer GSM and Wi-fi on aircraft and welcome the huge additional bandwidth the Ka frequency opens up. While 50Mb/s over a whole A380 might not sound like a lot, it's a huge improvement on what we have today.

OnAir hopes to announce a first customer for the new service before the end of the year. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
What FTC lawsuit? T-Mobile US touts 10GB, $100 family-of-4 plan
Folks 'could use that money for more important things' says CEO Legere
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.