ViaSat to bring faster WiFi to Virgin America passengers

Passengers flying on-board Virgin America planes will soon be provided faster WiFi than those offered in other planes. The WiFi service will be fast enough to stream Netflix on-board, while passengers are being flown to their destination.

Thanks to a new technology partnership with ViaSat Inc., Virgin America will be providing WiFi connectivity to passengers on-board that could be 30 times faster than most other airlines and 10 times faster than the present service being offered by Virgin America, according to its CEO. The new WiFi system will be added to 10 new planes, the A320, to be delivered.

The first planes equipped with the hybrid Ku/Ka-band antenna will take flight by September of this year. Virgin America will be tapping the power and economies of the high capacity Ka-band satellite VisSat, that can offer up to 140Gbps to deliver the WiFi service capable of streaming high-quality video. Virgin America will be offering the WiFi access free during the beta test period roll-out of the ViaSat product. Pricing would be introduced later in 2016 for the service.

Internet connectivity on planes are now well-established, but many of them are slow. The new technology being added to Virgin America planes will be fast enough for flyers to watch whatever they want on the internet, even stream videos on Netflix and use other services. Tests would begin in flights to Hasaii by the airline.

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