Boeing has issued a request for information (RFI) for an Inmarsat SwiftBroadband-supported satcom interface and onboard mobile telephony installation for the 787, Flightglobal can reveal.

The RFI, a copy of which has been obtained by Flightglobal, indicates that Boeing's preferred solution for installation of an onboard mobile telephony system (OMTS) "is to have it integrated" with the in-flight entertainment (IFE) system.

At a minimum, it says, Boeing would "like to see all server and control functions integrated into existing IFE components".

For the integrated IFE/OMTS, Boeing asks respondents to describe what services will be offered - voice, data, SMS, send/receive, web, email or other.

"Incorporation of OMTS on the 787 will follow current and future ARINC 824 industry standards," says the Boeing document.

As part of the RFI, Boeing is also evaluating a non-integrated or standalone OMTS solution. Additionally, the airframer is studying multiple SwiftBroadband architectures.

Respondents to the RFI are being asked to address the integration of these architectures and any issues, limitation or benefits their system would have with the different architectures.

Asked to comment on the RFI, a Boeing spokeswoman says: "We do not comment on RFIs and have no additional comment to offer."

News of the RFI comes as in-flight entertainment and connectivity stakeholders Panasonic Avionics and Thales Avionics say Boeing is under pressure to come up with a connectivity answer for its 787 customers. Panasonic and Thales are supplying IFE systems for the twinjet.

Boeing failed in its own attempt to create a sustainable business model for airborne high-speed Internet in the form of Ku-band satellite-based Connexion by Boeing, which was switched off in the commercial sector at the end of 2006.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news