Surging satellite broadcast capacity and downward pressure on launch costs has cut the price of in-flight wi-fi by about 10% in the past year – and prices should drop another 5% per year for the foreseeable future.
That is the forecast from connectivity provider Panasonic, which had a clutch of customers sign up for new or enhanced services at the Aircraft Interiors show in Hamburg.
David Bruner, the electronics giant’s vice-president of global communications services, says new orbiting capacity is rapidly filling in connectivity blind spots, even in the lightly trafficked southern oceans.
Bruner declined to detail the satellite, but says that Panasonic itself will be the anchor customer on a spacecraft set to enter service in the fourth quarter of 2016, which will provide a Ku-band service over the Pacific Ocean.
He adds that with a new generation of super-efficient satellites and rocket market entrant SpaceX halving the cost of some geostationary launches, a new world of commercial opportunity has been opened up.