SES, Gogo Enter Strategic Partnership to Expand In-Flight Market Presence

[Satellite News 06-18-12] Global FSS satellite operator SES has signed a strategic memorandum of understanding with in-flight connectivity specialist Gogo to bring high-speed, satellite-delivered Internet access to passengers aboard commercial airliners as early as the fourth quarter of 2012.

   In a June 18 announcement, SES confirmed that it is planning to provide Gogo with high-throughput Ku-band capacity on current and future SES multi-beam satellites serving the continental United States, the Atlantic Ocean Region and Europe.
   Gogo said expects to use this technology to offer airlines connectivity services on international fleets flying transatlantic routes, as well as regional fleets flying within Europe and the United States.
   SES CCO Ferdinand Kayser added that Gogo is actively working with his company and other operators to expand that coverage globally.
   “This groundbreaking alliance between SES and Gogo represents an exciting milestone for commercial airlines and their passengers, who expect the same high-speed Internet access they’re accustomed to on land during their flights,” Kayser said in a statement. “Like Gogo, SES is dedicated to connectivity without boundaries. We are looking forward to bringing the best satellites and expertise in the business to what promises to be an important advancement in regional and global airline travel."
   Gogo president and CEO Michael Small said that his company had been looking for a satellite operator partner as part of a strategy not only to expand service, but to also expand its capacity supply.
   “By partnering with SES, Gogo aims to provide the reliable and seamless satellite coverage our current and prospective airline partners must have to meet airline passengers’ demands for high-quality, high-speed Internet access on the fly,” Small said in a statement. “With the addition of a trusted satellite operator and Ku-band connectivity solution, Gogo is well positioned to provide a broad range of airlines and aircraft with a variety of technology solutions. Whether it’s Gogo’s exclusive air to ground and ATG-4 technologies, SES’s Ku-band satellites or, Inmarsat’s Global Xpress Ka-band satellite technologies, we plan to offer a full range of connectivity solutions for any aircraft mission.”
   The new partnership follows a similar announcement Gogo recently made in partnering with AeroSat to deliver satellite antennas, radomes, antenna controls and modem units and high power transceivers supporting Gogo’s development efforts.
   Small said the AeroSat equipment would be coupled with Gogo’s onboard hardware and software server and access points to deliver a complete solution to commercial airlines.
“The components have already been developed and are currently going through the airworthiness qualification and certification process. Gogo expects to be able to install the Ku-band systems on commercial aircraft as early as the fourth quarter of 2012,” Gogo said in a company statement.
   Gogo also entered into a partnership in March with satellite technology manufacturer XipLink, which will provide the company with dual-link balancing and optimization for its new ATG-4 system. XipLink said its technology aims to help Gogo manage bandwidth between its two modems and to provide an optimal Internet access experience while maintaining control over bandwidth costs.
   The new capabilities also will offer Gogo access to hybrid network acceleration, allowing aircraft to utilize Gogo’s Air-to-Ground network in North America while switching to satellite connections when leaving the air-to-ground coverage area.
   Gogo also intends to leverage three XipLink capabilities: Xiplink Embedded (XE), a virtual machine deployment for an aircraft data controller; hybrid load balancing support; and connection redundancy.
   “For the Gogo deployment, our joint teams came together quickly to understand existing capabilities and tightly define the new requirements in a short time window,” XipLink CEO Jack Waters said in a statement. “As it turns out, XipLink’s roadmap included many of the specific requirements and Gogo added unique understanding that results in increased Internet access capacity for aircraft passengers.”
   Gogo currently provides service to more than 1,300 commercial aircraft within the continental U.S and Alaska.

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