back to article Ofcom says yes to sat broadband on PLANES (and trains and ships)

A generous allocation of 4,128 MHz worth of spectrum running from 27.5GHz to 30GHz (albeit not contiguous) will give data speeds of 50Mbit/sec to a single plane or ship and an estimated 10Mbit/sec per user thanks to a new frequency allocation from Ofcom. The ruling allows "Earth station antennas" on moving vehicles which will …


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  1. Khaptain Silver badge

    New options available

    In flight porn on a transat flight, just be carefull who is sitting next to you......

    PS : Please ensure that Skype et al are filtered out of the traffic...... No talking during porn sessions if you please..

  2. AndrueC Silver badge

    50Mb/s for an entire A380. Hmmm. Ought to be okay for browsing but for streaming video not so good.

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      500 people sharing 50Mb/s, mmmmmmmmmmm, as he deftly double clicks his favourite torrent client...which has a plethitude of HD Blue Ray rips queued up.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Semtex451 Silver badge


    So now Ryanair can charge me £15/meg?

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Quart into a pint pot?

    How do you fit 4GHz of spectrum (non-contiguous at that) into a 2.5GHz band?

    1. JonP

      Re: Quart into a pint pot?

      I wondered that too, looks like they missed a bit:

      (from the linked report)

      Ofcom is making available 4,128 MHz worth of spectrum in the following bands:

      27.5 – 27.8185 GHz (transmit); 28.4545 – 28.8265 GHz (transmit); 29.4625 – 30 GHz (transmit); and 17.3 – 20.2 GHz (receive).

      1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

        Re: Quart into a pint pot?

        There are typically two polarities (RHCP, LHCP) available that can effectively double the bandwidth (*), but I doubt that's the reason for the obvious discrepancy.

        (* an advantage of spaaaaace... over cables in some comparisons.)

  5. Rob

    I wonder...

    ... if you could pay for one device and then share the connection with partner/friend/family on the flight using the built in phone/tablet functions, that would definitely make it cheaper than the extortionate price you know they are going to charge. I'm pretty sure that they would have thought of this and spent quite a bit of time locking down like the Mobile Operators did back in the day.

    If latency is high then online gaming is not worth it, which to be honest is the only thing I would want internet on a plane for.

    1. 's water music Silver badge

      Re: I wonder...

      > If latency is high then online gaming is not worth it, which to be honest is the only thing I would want internet on a plane for.

      I would want to be able to access Yahoo Answers and Wikihow in case of an emergency such as flight crew being incapacitated.

      Also pr0n! On a pl4ne!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I wonder...

        They might host the odd game server on there, A380 fair chance of another bored soul or two, in game adds, kerching.

        Games specific to the Airline with today's best score, only those airborne can play, live world map of your nearest competitor.

      2. Jock in a Frock

        Re: I wonder...

        "I've had enough of these m&*%$rf&*%$ing trouser snakes on this m&*%$rf&*%$ing plane!"

        (C) Samuel Jackson, 2006.

  6. User McUser

    Round Trip

    a 44,000 mile (71,000km) round-trip

    Actually, it's at least twice that for a round-trip.

    Wikipedia tells me a geosynchronous orbit is roughly 35,700km above the equator. Satellite data requests must go from computer up to satellite (1x), from satellite to ground relay (2x), over the Internet to the server that responds to the request, then back to the ground relay and up to the satellite (3x), and finally then back down to the computer (4x). Total trip is approximately 142,800km.

  7. b166er

    If it's so good at tracking, can't they create a mesh network between planes and have the ones at in proximity to airports, hoover up bandwidth from cell towers to share with other aircraft?

    That would sort out the latency problem, no? And do away with the need to bounce it all off satellites.

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      I think there may be issues with atmospheric attenuation, there's a lot less air between a plane and a satellite than there is between two planes at any decent range. Plus on something like a trans-Atlantic flight you'd be out of line of sight of anything in vicinity of land for most of the time anyway, obviouly you could relay through multiple aircraft but that would probably require a level of cooperation between airlines that they're unlikely to go for.

      I suspect it may be easier tracking a geostationary satellite than another aircraft as well, the latter is a lot less predictable.

  8. Robert E A Harvey


    Is it possible that the charges wil be higher than O2's £6 per MB?

    1. Joe Harrison Silver badge

      Re: Roaming

      I expect the price list will be per KB actually

  9. Simon Rockman

    I couldn't pin them down on prices, and as to 50Mb for a whole plane the view was "that's SO much more than we have at the moment it's not an issue". Which I guess means the want to charge so much no-one will be streaming a whole movie.

  10. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

    And in related news...

    Aircraft are increasingly flying Polar routes waay up north, above the latitudes where geostationary satellites are still visible above the horizon.

    My personal best is 87° 35' 24" N - within line of sight of the friggen North Pole !!!! There's no giant barbershop pole, I would have seen it poking through the clouds.

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