Panasonic Avionics has entered into a landmark agreement with Eutelsat America Corp. (EAC), Eutelsat’s US subsidiary, to deliver in-flight broadband connectivity services to aircraft flying high traffic routes spanning the west coast of North America, to Asia, and down to Australia and the Pacific islands. Eutelsat was selected as a result of its decision to install a replacement satellite at a key strategic location on Panasonic’s global network, offering excellent orbital slot and frequency coordination.
Eutelsat’s satellite network is dedicated to commercial aviation. The Eutelsat 172B ‘High Throughput’ satellite, which is scheduled to launch in 2017, will integrate into Panasonic’s network architecture, which is also tailored to the requirements of aviation. High Throughput Satellites use a combination of spot beams and high-level frequency re-use to provide wide bandwidth and fast data speeds. The satellites also use a broad overlay beam, which is used to economically deliver up to eight channels of live television to passengers in flight. Through this purpose-built network architecture – which will include Eutelsat 172B – Panasonic says it will be able to provide up to 200 megabytes per spot beam. According to the company, this is four-times more bandwidth than its nearest competitor provides.
Eutelsat 172B will host three distinct payloads. The first is a C-band payload to deliver increased power and broader coverage, which will enhance the service provided to existing customers via Eutelsat 172A and tap into new growth markets in South East Asia. The second is a regular Ku-band payload which will double capacity at 172° East and connect to five improved service areas: North Pacific, North East Asia, South East Pacific, South West Pacific and South Pacific.
The third is an High Throughput Ku-band payload specifically designed for in-flight broadband, featuring multiple user spots optimised to serve densely-used Asian and trans-Pacific flight paths and interconnected to gateways operating in the Ka band. This new payload will be the first to be customised for in-flight connectivity over the Pacific Ocean region, delivering an overall throughput of 1.8Gbps to an underserved market forecast to enjoy sustained growth over the coming years.
Paul Margis, president and CEO of Panasonic Avionics, said, “Demand for in-flight connectivity is increasing exponentially, especially in Asia. This agreement with a capable technology partner such as Eutelsat represents a continuation of our commitment to serve the aviation industry with the most capable and comprehensive connectivity solution available today and in the future.”
Michel de Rosen, Eutelsat’s chairman and CEO added, “Eutelsat 172B is ideally positioned to serve the rapidly growing in-flight connectivity market in this region, and we welcome Panasonic Avionics Corp. as an anchor tenant on this state-of-the-art satellite. Their long-term commitment to this location underscores its unmatched vantage point over a wide and underserved area spanning from the West coast of North America, to Asia and down to Australia and Pacific islands.”