Careful What You Wish For: Faster In-Flight Internet Is Supposedly on Its Way

Streaming Netflix? Good. People Skyping? Bad.

  • Share
  • Read Later
Getty Images

You know why I, for one, want to see faster in-flight internet speeds — the types of speeds that BBC News contends would be fast enough to stream Netflix?

Because once everyone has access to in-flight internet that’s closer to the same speed as the internet connections we have in our homes, hopefully — *hopefully* — it’ll cut down on all the ridiculous “hey, u guyz, im in a plain and i half innernet on tha plain! updatin’ twiter form 20 thousend feet FTW!! #wifi #socailmedia #flyin #seatback” tweets and Facebook updates.

That’s all we really want, right? For technology to become so ubiquitous that nobody’s mesmerized by the idea that even though you can fly across the country in a matter of hours, having internet access at the same time is somehow the most amazing part.

Also, everyone having Netflix will make for a quiet airplane. That’s why JetBlue is popular. Everyone’s zoned out watching TV the whole flight.

But — BUT! — faster connection speeds could mean more stable Skype-style VoIP calls, which could spell the potential for people to talk on the phone all flight long. Maybe we don’t want speeds to get too fast after all.

These types of systems, called Earth Stations on Mobile Platforms (ESOMPs), leverage higher-bandwidth satellite technology and could also be a good fit for trains and boats as well. ESOMPs are currently under review in the U.K., but BBC News reports, “The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the US has already authorised the use of ESOMPs.”

High-speed in-flight internet possible by 2014 [BBC News]