The US government has signed a deal to boost the WiFi on board Air Force One, the planes used to ferry the president of the US around the world, in a move that will help create a "situation room in the sky".
The $73m deal has been signed with ViaSat, which will also upgrade other planes used by top government officials. An official speed that will be provided has not been revealed, although it is likely to be at least 100Mbps to deliver the facilities on offer.
Once up and running the service will offer far faster connections than were previously possible, allowing services such as HD video conferencing and access to real-time live sensor data to enable better decision making.
Surveillance and reconnaissance, command and control, and search and rescue missions will also benefit from the upgrade, ViaSat said.
Ken Peterman, senior vice president and general manager of ViaSat's government systems division, explained that the deal underlines the importance of high-speed connectivity, even in the sky.
“ViaSat's high-capacity global in-flight internet service ensures that executive and government leaders and their teams can stay connected, informed and productive, maximising the effectiveness of time in-flight with situation room and command centre connectivity in the sky,” he said.
The deal is just the latest airline WiFi agreement for ViaSat, which earlier this year revealed that American Airlines has equipped its Boeing 737 fleet with WiFi connectivity via two high capacity Ka-band satellites.
The skies are about to get a lot busier for internet connectivity. Facebook recently celebrated the first successful test flight of the firm's Aquila solar-powered glider which will be used to beam internet access to remote regions around the world.
The plan is that the skies will be dotted with multiple connected Aquilas, each flying at around 18,000m (60,000ft) and able to stay airborne for months at a time using solar power to charge the batteries.
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