INTERIORS: Panasonic plans satellite coverage expansion

Hamburg
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Panasonic Avionics is ramping up satellite network coverage for its broadband connectivity service, strengthening its existing coverage and outlining plans for an additional Ku-band network to support the heaviest traffic areas.

"We have won a great deal of business, which is really is good," said Panasonic Avionics vice president of global communications David Bruner at an Aircraft Interiors press conference, noting it has over 1,300 aircraft commitments for its connectivity service.

"The good and the challenging part is you need capacity and we have been working to find the best broadband network at the lowest cost," says Bruner. "We have been working to design a new satellite network on the Ku network. This will provide more capacity where the aircraft need it. We are putting the capacity where the demand is, and have light demand where the demand is lighter. This allows us to be very efficient and lowest cost in the market place."

Bruner would not be drawn on the identity of the satellite provider. "It is a player with global capability," he says. "In the next couple of months we will disclose details of the design of the system and how the spot beams work." The system would be targeted to go into service towards the end of 2015.

Panasonic has meanwhile struck new agreements with Intelset and Australian Satellite Communications (ASC) for additional satellite capacity on the network.

"We've been pressing to close out the coverage of our Ku-band network globally," says Bruner. The Intelset-14 satellite will provide coverage to several African destinations and trans-Africa air routes, while prior to the agreement with ASC, Panasonic leased capacity from it for routes over Australia and New Zealand, and for trans-Tasman flights.

"This agreement moves us a step closer to completing the world's first global Ku frequency, high bandwidth aeronautical network, and we look forward to providing our customers true broadband service in these key Pacific regions," says Bruner. "We probably have one more area, South America, and that coming is coming in the next few months."