Drivers in the British county of Hampshire probably gave little more than a cursory glance at the flurry of activity around a roadside telecoms tower as they went about their busy lives this week. But the work carried out by expert riggers, electricians and installers represents an exciting milestone in the development of the new European Aviation Network (EAN) in-flight broadband solution for airline passengers.
The specialist team was installing the first three 4G LTE antennas for EAN’s ground-based component, developed and operated by Deutsche Telekom. When completed, the infrastructure will be made up of around 300 sites across Europe, with the antennas installed on existing masts wherever possible by our established local partners. Each of the LTE antennas has a range of over 80km and they have been designed to handle multiple handovers in a seamless manner, ensuring consistent coverage from the ground.
While we at Deutsche Telekom look after what happens on the ground, our partner Inmarsat will provide EAN’s satellite component, utilising its 30MHz (2 x 15MHz) S-band spectrum allocation across all 28 EU member states, plus Norway and Switzerland.
Inmarsat’s satellite connectivity will operate seamlessly with our ground network. Switching between the satellite and ground network will be automatically managed by the aircraft cabin systems, creating no interference to the service delivered to passengers on board.
EAN will be revolutionary – the first network of its kind, specially designed to provide airlines crossing Europe’s busy skies with high-quality, high-speed in-flight broadband. We are delighted that Inmarsat, which is responsible for marketing the combined EAN satellite and DT ground component to Europe’s airlines, has received such a positive response from the market.
Of course, much like those drivers in Hampshire, airline passengers will be unlikely to think much about what is happening around them to provide the in-flight broadband they enjoy. They will be too busy using their own smart devices to catch up on work emails, watch their favourite programmes, and update social media from high in the sky.
EAN is the first integrated satellite and air-to-ground network dedicated to providing a true in-flight broadband experience for Europe’s aviation industry and for millions of passengers who have been cut-off from fast, reliable and consistent broadband access during their flights. To find out more visit: inmarsat.com/european-aviation-network
About the author
David Fox is Vice President of Deutsche Telekom’s Inflight Services and Connectivity unit that provides ISP services for various airline customers around the world, enabling their passengers with seamless broadband connectivity.
David is also Deutsche Telekom’s Programme Lead for the European Aviation Network (EAN) initiative. In September 2015, Inmarsat and Deutsche Telekom announced their strategic partnership to make broadband connectivity available to airlines flying across Europe’s high-density airspace.
Prior to playing a major role in forging the EAN partnership with Inmarsat, David joined DT in 2009, leading several international rollout programmes, helping drive innovation across DT’s European footprint.
His pre-DT career involves management roles in several wired and wireless ISPs across Europe.
David holds a Master of Science (MSc) in Applied Computing.