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In-Flight Broadband Satellite (Eutelsat)
By: MarkJ - 26 August, 2003 (1:37 PM)

Eutelsat, the broadband satellite provider behind several UK and European ISPs, has been selected by Boeing to help equip its planes with hi-speed in-flight Internet access:


Connexion by Boeing, a business unit of The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA), has signed a contract with leading satellite operator Eutelsat for satellite transponder capacity for Connexion by Boeing’s mobile broadband information services. The provision of transponder capacity covering key areas of Europe and Asia provides additional momentum for the full-scale introduction of high-speed connectivity for airlines and passengers seeking real-time access to email, company intranets, the World Wide Web and entertainment content in flight.

Based on the agreement, Connexion by Boeing will lease capacity on Eutelsat’s SESAT satellite, which is located at 36 degrees East and provides a footprint stretching from the eastern Atlantic Ocean across the European continent and as far east as Central Asia. Eutelsat previously provided Connexion by Boeing with satellite capacity over the North Atlantic and Europe during successful three-month service demonstrations with Lufthansa and British Airways. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Connexion by Boeing’s service offers a permanent two-way connection between an antenna installed on the plane and the SESAT satellite. Airline passengers will be able to send and receive e-mails, access their firewall-protected corporate intranets and the World Wide Web, use a range of on-line shopping services and consult travel and tourist information -- all in real-time. Airline operators also will benefit from access to real-time crew and aircraft data.

This agreement adds another element to our plan to introduce the benefits and richness of real-time, two-way data and entertainment connectivity in flight,” said Joe Shaheen, Director of Operational Services for Connexion by Boeing. “More importantly, it provides the satellite resources that will allow us to bring this innovative capability to airlines that operate routes between Asia and Europe, which serve some of the most personal technology-intensive markets in the world.

CEO of Eutelsat Giuliano Berretta said: "Eutelsat was delighted to accompany Connexion by Boeing during the in-flight demonstration phase earlier this year and to see the high commercial interest and technical performance of this innovative product. We are proud to have won Boeing’s confidence and to be providing them with capacity for the introduction of a full commercial service. This new contract is fully in line with a key company objective to expand and diversify the scope of satellites for new broadband applications and demonstrates the ability of our fleet to adapt to new business opportunities.

Connexion by Boeing will begin the installation of its service onboard commercial airliners in early 2004.

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