In conversation... with Don Buchman of Via Sat
Don Buchman, vp and gm commerical mobility at Viasat, talks free streaming, network capacity and new tech roll-outs
Our free streaming service has really changed the market. Passengers want to watch video, just as at home and now everyone’s trying to follow us. We know the onboard market is going towards fast and free, just as in hotels and cafes.
Passengers use the airlines' app or a web browser to watch movies and TV shows on their own devices on a pay-per-view basis and a growing number of aircraft are equipped to offer this option.
Tigerair Australia has chosen our wireless IFE system for around 20 aircraft on its domestic flights and during APEX the airline, 20th Century Fox Film Corporation and Fox Networks Group announced an IFE partnership that will give customers additional paid access to recently-released movies and TV titles onboard.
Qantas, American Airlines, El Al, Jetblue and United Airlines also have our solution.
A Netflix future
Spencer Wang of Netflix has claimed that all airlines need is Netflix and I broadly agree with him, because everything comes from the cloud nowadays. We have more than 600,000 home subscribers so we know what they do with the service, and how they want to use it.
We have 140Gbps in orbit now and we launched the Viasat-2 satellite earlier this year. Next year it will be in service, delivering 300Gbps, with wide coverage including North and Central America, the Caribbean and a part of South America, as well as the main aeronautical and maritime routes across the Atlantic Ocean. Icelandair and El Al will be using this connectivity on their fleets.
Speed and flexibility
The Viasat-3 class of Ka-band satellites will begin service in about three years, and is expected to provide even more speed and flexibility. The first two Viasat-3 class satellites will focus on the Americas and on Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), respectively, with a third satellite planned for the Asia Pacific region, completing Viasat's global service coverage. Each Viasat-3 class satellite is expected to deliver more than 1-Terabit per second of network capacity, and will dynamically direct capacity to where demand is needed.
Viasat believes that by developing the European Aviation Network, Inmarsat has violated the pan-European government authority and tried to re-write its original licence to effectively gain an unfair monopoly. We challenge this and call on government and industry to preserve equal competition to foster the innovation engine. We want to see the spectrum retendered.