Lufthansa plans to offer broadband WiFi access on its short and medium-haul flights in Europe, starting in summer 2016 with about 180 planes.
The German national carrier is adopting technology that uses a mix of ground-based and satellite-based receivers from Deutsche Telekom and satellite firm Inmarsat. The cost hasn’t been revealed.
Bloomberg News reported that Deutsche Telekom will build 300 sites using high-speed LTE technology. The network will link with Inmarsat’s satellites to provide full coverage and capacity in the high-density European airspace.
Lufthansa’s solution is satellite-based WiFi, which is much faster than the ground-based systems more common in the US. Satellite-based WiFi also works on international flights and over bodies of water.
The airline’s rollout will come in stages, starting with Inmarsat’s satellite service and then, once it is completed, the air-to-ground component of the upcoming European Aviation Network — which other airlines are invited to join.