FAA grants final STC for Gogo 2Ku inflight connectivity

Gogo's "2Ku" dual Ku-band antenna promises up to 70mbps downlinks.
Gogo’s “2Ku” dual Ku-band antenna promises up to 70mbps downlinks.

Gogo has received the final Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) from the FAA for its 2Ku next-generation satellite connectivity service.

The technology is currently installed on Gogo’s Boeing 737-500 test aircraft and the system is now cleared for in-flight testing.

Seven commercial airlines have signed up for either a trial or fleet deployment of 2Ku, covering more than 500 commercial aircraft.

Gogo says it expects to launch its commercial service later this year and begin rapid installation of the backlog of 500 aircraft in 2016.

2Ku is expected to deliver peak speeds of more than 70 Mbps to the aircraft, which is more than 20 times the bandwidth provided by Gogo’s first generation Air-to-Ground solution in the US.

Gogo unveiled 2Ku at the 2014 Hamburg Aircraft Interiors Expo. The technology will use the same low-profile antennas as Gogo’s Ground to Orbit (GTO) technology, which will be deployed for aircraft flying in North America.

However, instead of using Gogo’s Air-to-Ground (ATG) solution for the return link to the ground, 2Ku has two low-profile, high-efficiency Ku-band satellite antennas.

The antennas are flat, phased arrays from ThinKom and can be rotated to move the beams. Both antennas move together and the system can operate down to about 10 degrees according to Gogo’s chief technology officer, Anand Chari.

Airlines that have signed up for 2Ku include Virgin Atlantic, Delta, and GOL, the largest low-cost airline in Latin America.

Anand Chari, Gogo’s chief technology officer, said of the STC: “This is a significant milestone for Gogo and a seminal event for in-flight internet.

“We believe this will be the best-performing technology for the global commercial aviation market bar none. Clearing this regulatory hurdle brings us one step closer to enabling our airline partners and their passengers to enjoy the future of in-flight Internet.”

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