Gogo Announces its Next Generation In-Flight Internet
Technology for North America
New Service Expected to Increase Speeds by more than Six Times Current Performance
ITASCA, IL. – Sept. 11, 2013 – Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the world leader of in-flight connectivity and a pioneer in wireless in-flight digital entertainment solutions, announces the next step in its technology roadmap, which will be capable of delivering more than 60 Mbps to the aircraft.
The new service – called Gogo GTO, or Ground to Orbit – is a proprietary hybrid technology that combines the best aspects of existing satellite technologies with Gogo's Air to Ground (ATG) cellular network. The technology will use satellite for receive only (transmission to the plane) and Gogo's Air to Ground network for the return link (transmission to the ground). Virgin America will be the launch partner of the new service, which is expected to be available in the second half of 2014.
"Gogo has proven time and again that it's the leader in developing new technologies that will bring more bandwidth for the buck to the aero market. GTO is the next step in our technological evolution and is a ground breaking new technology for the commercial aviation market in North America," said Gogo's president and CEO, Michael Small. "When we launched our in-flight Internet service five years ago, we were able to deliver 3.1 Mbps per aircraft through our Air to Ground network. About a year ago, we began rapidly deploying our next generation Air to Ground service that took peak speeds to 9.8 Mbps. GTO will now take peak speeds to more than 60 Mbps. That's a 20-fold increase from where we started."
"Because we are a Silicon Valley-based airline, Virgin America guests expect a fully connected in–flight experience that enables them to remain productive even at 35,000 feet," said President and CEO of Virgin America David Cush. "We were proud to be the first to offer Gogo's ATG-4 product last year and we are pleased to be the launch partner for GTO, which will be another leap forward in terms of speed and performance of in–flight Wi-Fi for our guests."
Gogo will be utilizing a Ku antenna developed specifically for receive only functionality. The advantages of using satellite for reception only and Gogo's ATG Network for the return link are unprecedented. Existing two-way satellite antennas in the commercial aviation market have limited power for transmissions so they don't interfere with other satellites. This dynamic makes the connection from the aircraft to the ground using two-way satellite an inefficient and expensive return link compared to Gogo's ATG Network. Gogo's receive only antenna will be two times more spectrally efficient and half the height of other antennas in the commercial aviation market. The low profile of the antenna will result in much less drag and therefore fuel burn on the aircraft and, ultimately, greater operational efficiencies for airlines.
Gogo's new satellite antenna can also leverage a number of today's Ku band satellites as well as future Ku band satellites, including spot beam Ku satellites. This enables Gogo to take advantage of new Ku satellite technologies as they become available without having to install a new antenna. The ability to use multiple satellites avoids reliance on a single satellite and provides a more robust and reliable network for airline partners and our end users. The system is also backed up by Gogo's Air to Ground network, which gives the service significant advantages in terms of resiliency.
"By using this type of hybrid technology you're utilizing the low latency of ATG and the high throughput of current and future satellite technologies, which we feel will give passengers a much better user experience," added Gogo's chief technology officer, Anand Chari. "We also expect GTO to be the most TV friendly solution in the market. The receive-only GTO antenna's higher spectral efficiency and lower cost structure will produce a better quality picture for various types of applications including IPTV."
Gogo will seek FAA approval for the new service in the 2014. Because the antenna is receive only, the company doesn't believe there is any additional FCC licensing needed for the new antenna.