Ofcom Greenlights the Use of Vehicle-Mounted Earth Stations to Enable Solid Train, Boat and Plane Broadband Speeds

By Gerald Lynch on at

Committing to a train, plane, coach or boat journey is usually also signing yourself up for a few hours of broadband-detox -- trains offer extortionately priced (and almost uniformly slow) web access, while in the UK planes, coaches and boats rarely offer any sort of web connection at all. However, that may all change thanks to a new decision by Ofcom allowing the use of "earth stations" on moving vehicles.

Earth stations can be used to access a speedy web connection from geostationary satellites, with Ofcom today confirming it will allow a large amount of the high-frequency spectrum to be used by systems that could be mounted onto ships, buses, trains and other vehicles. With an earth station near by, individual passengers could expect to get access to a connection around 10Mbit/sec. Advancements in earth station tech now means that such connections can be maintained even when the target is moving at high speed -- such as one being made to a plane. Ofcom expects the first commercial deployments of the new broadband tech later this year following the opening of license applications in February 2014. [Ofcom]