An expert has revealed every aeroplane in the world will soon be able to offer high-speed in-flight broadband allowing passengers to stream music and films at 30,000 feet.
According to Don Buchman, Vice President of Commercial Mobility at broadband satellite operator ViaSat, high-capacity satellites will increase connectivity, allowing planes to pick up a signal wherever they are.
Around 60-70 per cent of aircraft in the US, and 10-20 per cent of aircraft in the rest of the world, do offer access to some sort of in-flight WiFi, reports the Mirror.
However, the speed and quality of these connections is more like a dial-up modem connection than modern day broadband.
Mr Buchman said:
[Passengers] can’t do the things they normally would like to do, like sending emails, downloading files, watching videos, streaming videos, listening to audio – all those sort of things.
It looks like it will be up to individual airlines to decide whether to charge passengers on an opt-in basis or to absorb the cost of providing WiFi themselves.
However, some third parties may be willing to ‘sponsor’ the service on some airlines in order to get their products in front of new customers – something that Netflix and Amazon are already doing on some U.S airlines.
During a keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month Netflix boss Reed Hastings said:
We want Netflix to work incredibly well, whether you are watching in the living room, in the metro, or at 30,000 feet on Virgin America.
Video streaming is just the beginning. ViaSat claims that in-flight WiFi will also be able to order duty free from their phones and tablets and arrange for items to be delivered to their homes.
Passengers may even be able to book a flight at the last second, arrange an Uber collection or even crowdsource other tourists to meet up with en route to their destination.
Mr Buchman concluded:
Before you had to turn your phone off for take-off and landing, and as soon as that little ‘ding ding’ went off when the plane landed, everyone would grab their device, and start interacting with it.
People want to be connected, so our mission is to remove [the] barriers and let the actual demand take hold.
And it should hopefully put an end to the torture that is the in-flight entertainment…