Telstra may have Australia’s most extensive 4G network, but now the telco is looking to conquer the heavens with 4Gtrials for in-flight use in aircrafts. While in-flight internet access is currently available using 3G or satellite technology on airlines across the world on both domestic and international routes, Telstra is working to bring in-flight internet up to speed with what it is calling its Skinet network.
Telstra has unveiled a nationwide plan to provide 4G mobile broadband on domestic flights. Dedicated transmitters on the ground will use upward-facing antennas to send signals to shark-fin shaped antennae on the underside of aircraft, even as aircraft travel at close to 1000km/h. On a number of test flights between Sydney and Melbourne, involving four ground stations, the telco was able to maintain 4G throughput of up to 15 megabits-per-second (Mbps), with an average throughput of 10 Mbps. “These test flights are encouraging,” said Mike Wright, Telstra’s executive director of networks, in a blog post on Monday. He said the network, called Skinet, might one day deliver high-speed broadband connectivity to consumers.