Slow internet is the worst possible kind of internet, as anyone who’s sold kidneys to use in-flight Wi-Fi can probably attest. GoGo, the biggest player in the airborne Wi-Fi game, has been promising faster speeds since 2013; thanks to a FAA decision, the company is now one step closer to coming through.
Up until now, GoGo has been using air-to-ground signals -- basically, jacked-up cellular connections -- to power its in-flight Wi-Fi. Even with enhanced antennas, that system tops out at around 10Mbps, slower than the minimum speed for your home broadband connection.
The new system, which received FAA approval for in-flight testing this week, uses a pair of K-band antennae to communicate with satellites in orbit. It's all very clever, but the important thing is this: 70Mbps internet, anywhere in the world.
If the testing on GoGo's experimental Boeing 737 aircraft goes well, the company is expecting to roll out the service to 500 aircraft across seven airlines by next year. Better get saving those pennies.
Illustration: Adam Clark Estes / Shutterstock