|Quoting tioloko100 (Thread starter):|
In China, one can get free internet in a $30/day hotel, in Dubai & Singapore one can get free internet on the streets for free.
Here is Melbourne, you can get it for free at the federation square, most resorts in Punta Cana in Dominican Republic offer free internet, Murtala mohammed Airport in lagos offers free internet for an hour thereabout for free.
Why cant we get it for free when we are airborne despite the premium amount we pay for first/business class? its 2012 for goodness sake!!! Even Qantas has scrapped its plans for inflight internet on A380 flights
Well, internet on the aircraft, and internet on the ground are two very different things.
In the US, they also have a terrestrial system to beam up to the aircraft. Expensive infrastructure on the ground, cheap installation on the ground. Drawback, this only works on large landmasses with large volume of flights... this can give fixed prices per use, ie, not volume based pricing.
Outside the US (and soon,some parts of Canada), no such thing exist. Largely, because of the telco regulations. Your internet, covers the laws of the country of your aircraft, and also the country the aircraft is flying over. Each country have different laws on who can and cannot provide internet service (and even the US has that).
So, then we go to satellite services. Currently, there are 2 types of service that is prevalent around the world.
The first, is Ku-band satellite service. Uses satellites that cover a wide area on a single beam... much like your VSAT. Ku-band service is relatively cheap for data transmission. Row44 in the US and Europe (on Norwegian) use this, and there are several other providers such as Panasonic Global Communications Service (from Panasonic Avionics). This kind of service arise from the DirecTV services in a way. The antenna is not small (and quite draggy... increased fuel burn)... and they're mechanical... and not cheap.
The cheap data transmission costs allow flat pricing, and Ku-band is so cheap in some places, heck, you can give it for free (such as with Norwegian). BUT, such a service is only available on a per region basis for flat-price (ie: not volume based). Flat pricing model services are also available on Viasat, and Panasonic... The only problem is, it can take several minutes to switch from one satellite to another as one nears the edge of the coverage area of a particular satellite, and doesn't work well as you cross the equator because you would have "Adjacent Satellite Interference", due to the shape of the low-profile Ku-band antenna... ie: when you cross the equator, you'd zap several other satellites too... causing interference.
The problem with Ku-Band service, is that most of the satellite beams are aimed at areas where there's a lot of users... ie: Land! Service over oceans does not have the same number of satellites covering it... this tends to raise the price.
The only trans-oceanic service with Ku-Band is provided by Viasat, Panasonic, and that thing Lufthansa uses (forgot)... and reliable trans-oceanic service onboard aircraft currently is over the north atlantic... other areas are covered, but I don't remember them off by heart... (TK
's 777s use this service).
Then, what are we left with?
Well, there is Inmarsat's SwiftBroadband service. This is the most prevalent current-generation service outside the US. It uses electronic beam steering or fine-beam angle mechanical steering, and it's weather proof (Ku-Band, not so!). The problem is, the pricing available is predominantly volume based. Unlimited use pricing is available, BUT, it's extremly expensive! This is what's used with Emirates and Singapore Airlines... and the prices they offer to the customer, is far below the the price airlines or whoever have to pay... ie: it loses money.
A lot of the SwiftBroadband service offered to passengers also come through 2G internet via your cellphone... the airline can make money with this, but the passenger pay international roaming data rates.
Telco regulations of countries the aircraft fly over, vary. That's why when flying over some countries, the service has to be switched off.
That 4-5% uptake rate, IS
the current global average. The US fares better with 5%... the rest ofthe world is 3-4% depending on the country and airline. The number is higher if it's offered for free.
|Quoting mpdpilot (Reply 7):|
The solution I think it fair and is something that is marketable, is you say free to use Facebook, and check e-mail. Block high usage sites like YouTube because they hog bandwidth. Then you offer unrestricted WiFi for 12.95.
Optimization, and restricting high-bandwidth usage, is the only way forward with the current technologies.
A few years down the line, we'd have Ka-band satellite (same system and weaknesses as the Ku-band) with much higher bandwidth... but the telco regulations aren't changing... so, it'll face the same regulatory challenges.
|Quoting SEPilot (Reply 10):|
I think it is the cost of installation; I read somewhere that it is on the order of $1.5 million per aircraft. They want to recover that cost; but the problem seems to be that too few people are willing to pay what they have to charge.
It really does depend on which system. The equipment costs are going down. Excluding aircraft downtime (minimum 3 full days), manpower in installation, and STC costs, the equipment can cost from $50,000 to $1.5 million dollars, depending on what you take!