Inmarsat’s European Aviation Network takes flight

True inflight broadband is coming to European skies

Inflight testing of the European Aviation Network (EAN) got off to a flying start in November 2016 with its first airborne connection – one that surpassed all thresholds for consistency, stability and speed. The flight over Bournemouth, UK, opened the next round of testing and validation for this pioneering network, and here are some video highlights from the test.

Developed by Inmarsat and Deutsche Telekom, together with partners Nokia and Thales, EAN integrates satellite coverage with complementary ground-based 4G LTE for inflight broadband that’s custom-designed for dense European flight paths and the millions of passengers they carry.

Connections are established via small aircraft antennaes, with switching between the satellite and the ground managed automatically by cabin systems – so there’s no impact or interference with the service on board. With some 300 terrestrial LTE stations already rolling out across Europe and Inmarsat’s new S-band satellite undergoing testing, EAN is on schedule for introduction in mid-2017. Once complete, EAN will deliver seamless ‘always-on’ inflight broadband across all 28 European Union member states (plus Norway and Switzerland) for aircraft travelling at speeds up to 1,200km/h and at cruising altitudes.