By late next year on Etihad, you may be able to stream YouTube videos and Netflix from the comfort of your seat. The Gulf carrier hints high speed internet is coming with speeds up to 50 Mbps.
Dubbed Wi-Fly, the service promises “none of the buffering that slows down current inflight communication”. The development of this new technology marks a collaborative effort between state-owned Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat) and Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (du). [Delta, if you’re listening, this means subsidies…]
We want to replicate the experience that we have on the ground today and be able to provide superfast internet and Wi-Fi on a plane so it’s not limited. At the moment on a plane you might be able to access some social media, update your profile but with this new solution you will be able to stream content and watch video seamlessly.
-Donovan Smith, Yahsat
When the new service rolls out late next year, coverage will only be available in Yahsat’s network, including:
- Middle East
Eventually, Yhsat hopes to offer worldwide coverage…that is in its hands, not Etihad’s.
The new system will be debuted publicly at the Dubai Airshow later this month. Engineers will outfit it to an Etihad plane for more in-depth testing.
Will the new high-speed service be cost prohibitive? Smith says no.
It will be in line with what is available on airlines today. It will be competitive.
Additionally, the high-speed internet service will link up with mobile phones to create a “seamless” calling plan.
I like the way Bernhard Randerath, Etihad’s Vice President of Design, Engineering and Innovation, puts it–
We will need to complete certifications and test flights to check the performance on aircrafts. The technology we have now is okay, the passenger is satisfied. But this is the next step where we want it to be faster, so they feel like they are at home with a strong signal. People want to connect fluently, to have wonderful IT, entertainment and global connectivity in the cabin. This is the future.
This is indeed the future.
Would high-speed internet make you more likely to fly Etihad?