Danny Helgeson, Rockwell CollinsRockwell Collins recently announced that its eXchange service would be the first to offer the business jet market live broadband television while flying over oceanic regions. Denny Helgeson, vice-president and general manager of Business and Regional Systems for Rockwell Collins, spoke to Steve Nichols about the service and what it will offer

Q. Rockwell Collins’ eXchange seems to be bringing to the business jet market the same level of content that commercial passengers are now demanding. How are you doing this?

A. eXchange allows business jet passengers to view TV through the data service of Connexion by Boeing. The broadband television offering, which is in addition to eXchange’s Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) TV offering, permits the viewing of time-sensitive TV programming at the same time that passengers are receiving their e-mail.

Q. What channels or content will be available?

A. The service provides up to four channels of programming while flying over the ocean through providers such as MSNBC, CNBC, BBC, EuroNews and EuroSport News. eXchange also provides DBS television programming, with more than 400 channels of digital news, sports and entertainment programming in multiple regions around the world.

Q. Will the service be available in the Middle East?

A. Yes, much of the Middle East region is covered with eXchange.

Q. How does this compare with the sort of offering commercial passengers currently receive?

A. Because eXchange is made possible through a strategic agreement between Rockwell Collins and Connexion by Boeing, business jet passengers will now be able to enjoy the same access to broadband and live television as those on commercial aircraft equipped with the Connexion by Boeing service.

Q. What type of equipment needs to be fitted to the business jet?

A. The eXchange system consists of nine LRUs. Three are exclusive to the broadband data system, two are exclusive to the DBS TV system, and four are share between both systems. The LRUs include a tail-mounted antenna unit, diplexer, gimbal control module, eXchange system signal processor, IF multiplexer unit, receiver decoder unit, data transmitter receiver server, power amplifier unit and converter unit.

Q. Does the system offer other facilities such as broadband internet/e-mail?

A. In addition to broadband and DBS television, eXchange provides secure access to e-mail, the internet and virtual private networks with data transfer speed of up to 5Mbps to the aircraft and up to 256kbps from the aircraft.

Q. When will the system be available?

A. The system is expected to be available in the second quarter of 2006.

Q. What do expect the take-up to be?

A. We currently have three customers signed up for eXchange. The product will debut on Samsung Techwin’s two Bombardier Global Express business jets, as well as on a Bombardier Global 5000 demonstrator aircraft. A third undisclosed customer has also selected eXchange for its Global Express XRS business jet.

Q. What future plans do you have for eXchange?

A. We will continue to expand the coverage for eXchange. The launch coverage will be in North America, the North Atlantic, Europe and the Middle East. The service will expand into additional regions as fast as the market demands and regulatory approvals are obtained. We also plan to broaden eXchange service to include offerings such as video teleconferencing and voice over internet protocol (VOIP).

Q. What response are you getting from potential customers?

A. We’re extremely pleased with the progress being made on our eXchange offering and the positive response we’re receiving from our customers. This is a robust, integrated system based on proven technology that will change business travel by providing passengers all the tools they need to stay informed and entertained during flight.

Source: Flight Daily News