Ka-band inflight broadband service will be live in Europe by mid-2013, says JetBlue subsidiary LiveTV.
LiveTV says it will continue to work with California-based satellite operator ViaSat to provide the high-speed internet service. ViaSat partners with Eutelsat for capacity on its KA-SAT high-throughput satellite over Europe, which has an operational capacity of 70Gbps.
ViaSat says it is working to expand coverage not only to Europe, but to the Middle East as well. The company says it has submitted responses to requests for proposals issued by European and Middle Eastern airlines. It hopes to arrive at an agreement with at least one airline from eiter region by early 2013.
For Middle Eastern coverage, ViaSat partners with Mubadala subsidiary Yahsat for Ka-band capacity over the Middle East and parts of East Africa. VisaSat provides the ground infrastructure in its partnerships for coverage outside of North America.
Live TV and ViaSat have an existing partnership to bring Ka-band internet to launch customer JetBlue and United's Continental fleet. JetBlue announced last week that it will introduce the first connected aircraft in the first quarter of 2013. United will start retrofitting its fleet with the Ka-band equipment in the fourth quarter.
JetBlue and United will receive connectivity through ViaSat's ViaSat-1, which launched last October. The satellite provides capacity over North America and has 140 Gbps of total throughput capacity.