LOUISVILLE, CO. – July 7, 2004 – Aircell this week successfully completed the initial phase of flight testing for its next-generation airborne telecommunications link. Average user speeds were demonstrated at 300 to 500 kilobits per second, with peak rates up to 2.4 megabits per second. These data transfer rates are comparable to the speeds seen in the latest generation of ground-based mobile phones, and are 80-160 times faster than today’s typical airborne telecommunication systems.
The technical validation of Aircell’s airborne telecommunications link marks a significant milestone in the company’s development of a broadband system that will allow passengers to use their next-generation personal cellular telephones and other wireless devices aboard aircraft in flight. Using its proprietary intellectual property and aeronautical network experience, Aircell plans to deploy a nationwide network in the continental U.S. in the next 18-24 months.
The initial phase of flight testing was successfully completed in the Rocky Mountain West using a specially-equipped business jet and a modified, ground-based cellular station. The testing was conducted on air-to-ground frequencies under Special Temporary Authorization (STA) from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Data uploads and downloads were demonstrated, and the results were confirmed with the aircraft operating at a variety of altitudes, airspeeds, and configurations.
Aircell and a number of major U.S. airlines maintain ongoing dialogue regarding these services and plans for commercial deployment. Initial testing of Aircell’s system aboard scheduled airlines is targeted to begin early next summer.
Aircell® is the leader in global airborne telecommunications for the Business Aviation market. Its products are offered by virtually every fixed- and rotor-wing airframe manufacturer in business aviation, and are installed aboard the world’s four largest fractional ownership fleets. A single-source, turnkey provider of equipment, service, and technical support, Aircell simplifies airborne communications and keeps you In Touch, In Flight®.
The 2006 winner of the FCC’s exclusive broadband frequency license, Aircell is also pioneering a revolutionary new wireless broadband system for North America. Available only from Aircell, it will include robust Wi-Fi hotspots that enable airline passengers to surf the Internet, use e-mail, and log on to their corporate VPN’s using their personal 802.11a/b/g-equipped Wi-Fi data devices. The system will also offer airline operational communications capabilities and provide a path to a wealth of future cabin services.
Set for introduction in 2008, the new broadband service will also be available to business aircraft operators, offering a similar set of features.
Aircell (www.aircell.com) has facilities in Louisville, Colorado, and Itasca, Illinois, USA.