British Airways to implement on-board Wi-Fi on domestic routes


British Airways in is advanced talks with satellite company Inmarsat to provide internet access on its flights.

The airline said the broadband service would combine air-to-ground 4G and satellite connectivity and would initially be available on UK domestic routes in the next three years. The network would be along similar lines in the US with the success of the Go-Go air-to-ground network has led to competing networks being constructed by AT&T.

Kate Thornton, head of Product and Service at British Airways, said the airline is in discussions with Inmarsat about the in-flight internet service.

"Starting with UK domestic routes Inmarsat intends to deploy Europe's first ground-based 4G broadband network giving our customers the internet access they expect on the ground while in the air," she said.

London-based satellite firm Inmarsat is planning to invest millions to develop the ground network deployment at a cost of around $250 million.

A further $250 million will be spent on Inmarsat's share in building and launching an S-band satellite called Europasat by the end of 2016. The European Commission gave Inmarsat a license for this part of the spectrum back in 2009.

To reduce initial programme costs, Inmarsat and Hellas-Sat, a non-competing European satellite operator, have signerd upThales Alenia Space for the construction of the satellite on a shared basis, with each partner retaining exclusive rights to a separate payload. Inmarsat's S-band payload is expected to be delivered for launch on Europasat at the end of 2016.

Rupert Pearce, Inmarsat's CEO said: "We believe that the same in-flight connectivity opportunity exists in Europe and that, with the support of EU telecoms regulators, Inmarsat can rapidly bring to market unique, high speed aviation passenger connectivity services to meet this market demand on an EU-wide basis."

"A number of European airlines are aligned with this vision and we are absolutely delighted to announce advanced discussions with British Airways to be a launch customer on our new aviation network."


ITPro is a global business technology website providing the latest news, analysis, and business insight for IT decision-makers. Whether it's cyber security, cloud computing, IT infrastructure, or business strategy, we aim to equip leaders with the data they need to make informed IT investments.

For regular updates delivered to your inbox and social feeds, be sure to sign up to our daily newsletter and follow on us LinkedIn and Twitter.