In Greece the pan-European basis for the Internet on airplanes

In Greece the pan-European basis for the Internet on airplanes

Athens, November 4, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

The strategic role of Greece in European telecommunications

By Spiros Sideris

Reportedly, Aegean Airlines will be among the first European carriers to provide its passengers the possibility to surf the internet while on flight, through a new network.

Nemea OTE Group plays a key role in developing a European network providing broadband Internet on flights over Europe. The British chose the Inmarsat satellite communications center in the area to install the satellite ground infrastructure of the European Aviation Network (EAN).

EAN is an innovative network that allows millions of airline passengers over Europe to use their smartphones and their other devices while on flight as they would on the ground. It will combine satellite technology of the new satellite of Inmarsat, with a new pan-European land-based broadband network technology LTE, which will be constructed by Deutsche Telekom.

According to reliable sources, Aegean Airlines will be among the first European carriers that would use the new network, and will give passengers the possibility to have internet access. On the matter referred recently the President and CEO of the company, E. Vassilakis, saying that announcements will probably be made until Christmas.

The under development network will be formed with the parallel use of a new satellite and multiple terrestrial base stations, ensuring greater coverage. Along the same lines, a satellite station for full coverage of the European continent will work in Munich.

At present, some airlines provide passengers traveling first class, mainly in overseas long-haul flights, access to the Internet via WiFi cabin and satellite connections. Often, however, these services are lacking in connection speed and have geographical limitations.

The trend in aviation tends towards the provision of Internet at the skies and it is believed that in a few year it will become a reality. Some, global air carriers have already announced their immediate plans, as more and more passengers prefer to use their own mobile devices, instead of embedded entertainment systems.

Moreover, the encouragement of such behavior on the part of passengers (bring your own device) and wireless connections are an important benefit to the airlines, because in the future they will rid the aircraft from the weight of cables running down the cabin, as well as the additional equipment per seat.

Besides installation and maintenance costs, according to some calculations, a 260-seat Boeing 767 can save up to 80 tons of fuel annually, by reducing the burden that will come with the adoption of the respective systems. In all these, decisive factor will play the connectivity to the Internet at high speeds, which can be ensured by developing a European network with the participation of OTE.

A similar networking model, based on terrestrial base stations, is provided by Gogo on the airspace of the United States. Gogo which specializes in broadband connection services to the Internet in flight. In this case the user buys electronic coupons of specific duration (from several hours up to 24 hours), which can be activated at any time he wishes during a flight. The user has the ability to continue using the service even if it changes aircraft due to consecutive flights, provided it is within the specified duration. The connection is possible when the airplane is above a certain height, at a few thousand feet.

In the case of the European network with the participation of OTE, an interesting issue that arises with the provision of Internet connectivity during the flight, is the geographical reference point of each aircraft in order to carry out the pairing of the online content that can be accessed by passengers such as, for example, advertising displays. According to preliminary information, each plane will receive an IP address before take off, the assignment of which will be made on occasion and in consultation between telecommunication operator and airline.