ViaSat and JetBlue extend relationship on next-gen satellites

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ViaSat's Don Buchman.
ViaSat’s Don Buchman.

ViaSat says it has expanded its relationship with JetBlue, and will serve as the direct in-flight internet service provider to the airline.

JetBlue aircraft will be upgraded to the latest ViaSat hardware, and will have access to the additional coverage and capacity offered by ViaSat’s next-generation ViaSat-2 and ViaSat-3 satellite platforms

JetBlue first offered the ViaSat in-flight internet service, branded Fly-Fi, in December 2013.

Four years later, the airline continues to be recognised as having the industry’s “Best Wi-Fi” in the sky – most recently accepting an award for its Fly-Fi service at the September 2017 Airline Passenger Experience (APEX) show.

JetBlue says it is the only U.S. carrier that has deployed a fast and free in-flight Wi-Fi service for all devices – across its entire fleet – encouraging passengers to stream, web browse and use the internet as they would expect to at home or at work.

Mariya Stoyanova, JetBlue’s director of product development, said: “From day one we set out to offer the best onboard internet experience available, and we made a great decision in installing ViaSat’s equipment.

“We’ve seen tremendous value from the Fly-Fi service – from driving customer loyalty with our ability to offer new, exciting applications through streaming partnerships to the positive effect we believe it has had on our bottom line.

“This new deal with ViaSat gives us the ability to tap into a robust communications satellite network, at far better economics, enabling us to build-out plans for a fully connected gate-to-gate experience.”

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JetBlue’s commitment enables the airline to access ViaSat’s advanced high-capacity Ka-band satellite system, which includes the ViaSat-1, ViaSat-2 and ViaSat-3 satellite platforms.

These satellite platforms, enable ViaSat to deliver the fastest, highest quality in-flight internet service to each connected device on a plane.

“JetBlue and ViaSat have a similar strategic vision for in-flight internet service: make it fast, make it high-quality, make it affordable,” said Don Buchman, vice president and general manager, Commercial Mobility, ViaSat.

“Since the beginning of our partnership, we have focused on delivering the best service, with the best economics to enable JetBlue to offer the gold standard in in-flight Wi-Fi. This latest deal solidifies this vision and our partnership for years to come.”

To tap into the satellites, ViaSat’s latest in-flight internet system will be installed onto JetBlue aircraft beginning in the autumn of 2018.

The equipment offers forward and backward satellite platform compatibility, allowing JetBlue to meet the growing broadband demands of the fully connected aircraft.

ViaSat says this future-proofing feature ensures JetBlue can cost-effectively deploy the ViaSat equipment today, and take full advantage of the more than 3.5 terabits per second (Tbps) of total expected future global capacity ViaSat will be bringing to market through its next generation of satellite platforms.

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