20-Aug-2013 15:08

Excellent news: Planes, trains and ships could enjoy Fast Broadband.

Travellers and passengers on UK planes, boats and trains could soon be given access to superfast broadband.

Communications regulator Ofcom is proposing to license a new satellite system for aircraft, ships and trains.

The proposal said: "ESOMPs [Earth Stations on Mobile Platforms] represent a potentially valuable innovation and the development of a new market for mobile communications. UK citizens and consumers will benefit from having broadband access whilst travelling in places where alternative means of connectivity is limited."

Several commercial satellite operators are planning to launch networks that support the use of ESOMPs in the coming months and an Ofcom representative said airlines would "have to make a commercial decision" on whether to utilise the new systems.

British Airways spokesman, Richard D'Cruze, said the airline was "closely monitoring developments in the connectivity market in both the satellite and direct air-to-ground technology areas".

WiFi has been available on aircraft for some time, with a reported 40 percent of US flights now providing internet access through the use of 3G transmitters and receivers.
The speeds have been generally low, however, with customers seemingly left unsatisfied by the performance of their in-flight connections.

If successful, the new technologies will be licensed in early 2014.

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