“Get Connected’s” Steve Nichols has seen an early draft of how business aviation users are likely to be charged to use Inmarsat’s Ka-band Jet ConneX (JX) service.
Jet ConneX is the name given to the business aviation inflight connectivity service being delivered by Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network.
While the final details are still being worked on, an early draft of the plan shows that the pricing is likely to revolve around a stated “maximum information rate” (MIR) and a bundled monthly Gigabyte amount.
The MIR is the maximum data speed that JX users are likely to see to their aircraft from the three I-5 satellites.
The current view is that five packages will be offered for the JX service.
These outline MIR speeds from 3-15Mbps, with monthly data packages running from 25-95Gb. There will be a maximum monthly “carry over” allowance of half the specified Gb limit.
The idea is that business operators will pick the package that best suits their needs.
The maximum speed of 15Mbps may come as a surprise to some people. The tail-mounted Honeywell MCS-8000 had been touted as being capable of delivering up to 30Mbps to the aircraft. The 15Mbps limit may look more like Inmarsat capping the maximum speed to safeguard satellite bandwidth rather than a limitation of the antenna.
The MCS-8000 tail-mount antenna is currently being tested on two aircraft in the US and an STC for the Dassault Falcon is expected in late Q4 2015.
The first STC for the larger fuselage-mounted MCS-8200 antenna is expected for the Boeing 757 later this year, as this was the Honeywell aircraft used in the initial JX flight tests in the UK.
Eclipse/SITA OnAir are also said to be working on an STC for the Boeing 777.
While the final pricing of the JX packages is not known, the overall charging structure could change before the service is launched early next year – these packages are therefore described as “notional”.