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OneWeb delivers 260Mbps to a Boeing 777 in flight

Ben Griffin OneWeb.jpg

OneWeb has come a step closer to realising its goal of providing broadband to commercial airliners, with a test flight on a Boeing 777.

The satellite company’s staff received YouTube and Netflix videos, and took part in Teams calls and played Nintendo games from the 777 flying over Texas.

Ben Griffin (pictured), OneWeb’s VP of mobility, said: “Broadband in-flight connectivity, delivered to a commercial aircraft via low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites and an electrically steered antenna (ESA) is now – finally – a reality.”

The Stellar Blu satellite terminal, using an antenna from Ball Aerospace, received data from OneWeb satellites at 260Mbps and was able to uplink at 80Mbps, with a network latency of “under 100ms”. The system downloaded five gigabytes of data in 20 seconds.

Griffin said: “We are now well and truly on our way to delivering consistently reliable, game-changing, affordable in-flight connectivity to commercial aviation users everywhere.”

OneWeb said it expected certification of the equipment “in mid-2023”. The new Stellar Blu platform, known as “Sidewinder”, will continue flight testing through the remainder of 2022, the company added.

The test, from Fort Worth’s Alliance airport, included operation of the connection during taxi-ing, take-off and landing as well as normal flight.

Tracy Trent, Stellar Blu CEO, said: “We are very confident the Sidewinder terminal will present operators with a purpose-built aviation solution, delivering new breakthroughs for passenger experience, and redefining aircraft operating expectations for reliability and maintainability.”