European Aviation Network’s Broadband Service Launch
The European Aviation Network (EAN), as the European Commission-backed initiative is called, is in the final stages of delivering connectivity to passenger planes from the Inmarsat-operated satellite alongside a ground-based mobile network later this year.
EAN is the world’s first dedicated aviation connectivity solution to integrate space-based and ground-based networks to deliver a seamless in-flight broadband experience for millions of airline passengers throughout Europe. Unlike current in-flight connectivity solutions, EAN will feature much higher data speeds, high levels of capacity and low operating costs. It is also easily scalable so that it can expand along with demand on high-density flight routes.
The inflight testing of the EAN got off to a flying start back in November 2016 with its first airborne connection – one that surpassed all thresholds for consistency, stability and speed.
“The EAN is a great example of European collaboration at its very best,” says Dr Rolf Nafziger, senior vice president for the International Wholesale Business Unit of Deutsche Telekom AG. “It has involved a lot of work between many partners, including many of Deutsche Telekom’s international affiliates. It is not unknown for projects with this many partners to run into difficulties and become delayed. This project, however, is on track to take off at the end of this year, and that is something to be proud of.”
International Airlines Group (IAG), which includes British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling, is the launch customer for the new service.
Nafziger believes that the ability to provide a true broadband experience will give the European aviation industry a major competitive boost: “You have satellite communications on planes today, but what we are developing is so much better because it combines these two components – satellite and ground.”