Rockwell Collins seeks alternative satellite provider for Exchange internet system

Rockwell Collins is in talks with alternative providers of Ku-band satellite services after Boeing announced it will shut down its Connexion broadband service, which Collins supplies exclusively to business aviation via its Exchange system.

"We think it is viable for business aviation," says Collins. "We have gone out to see what we can do to continue to provide broadband service via Exchange, both Ku-band and L-band." The company hopes to have an alternative provider in place before the National Business Aviation Association show in October.

Collins has begun supplying Exchange systems to launch customer Bombardier, for installation on Global family business jets. Exchange uses the fin-top antenna of the company's Tailwind 500 multi-region satellite television system to provide a two-way Ku-band datalink for in-flight email and internet connectivity.

"Exchange is operational, with Connexion by Boeing providing the service today," says Collins. Boeing is shutting down Connexion, and writing off up to $320 million, because the airline market for broadband connectivity did not materialise as expected.

Collins introduced Exchange in 2003 under an exclusive agreement with Connexion. Arinc Direct launched its competing SkyLink satellite broadband communications service for business aircraft in 2005, and supplies the Ku-band system to Gulfstream.

© Rockwell Collins

Collins wants to offer broadband

Source: Flight International