The impressive growth of Internet and its ever increasing usage in the day to day work of business communities is driving the demand for the provision of interactive multimedia services on commercial flights. It is becoming very common to use the Internet as a working tool in general business. Internet is used to acquire information, images, communicate through e-mail, interrogate databases, etc.. One can say that in the same way as in the early nineties computers became an indispensable tool for daily work, today people increasingly need to be "connected" to the network.
Business people who wish to work while travelling by plane would benefit from the presence of an in-flight connection to the internet. Many operators are moving toward the provision of in-flight internet services. In general the proposed systems re-use the "Skyphone" i.e. the on-board telephone which is nowadays installed in the majority of commercial aeroplanes.
The maximum speed of such systems is 64Kb/s, which is considered appropriate for today's typical usage. However the emergence of new "capacity hungry" internet applications will soon require much higher connection speeds.
The scope of the proposed activity is to investigate the commercial and technical feasibility of a higher capacity system for Aeronautical services. Such a system would provide business class passengers' connections up to 2 Mb/s.
The study shall investigate the following areas:
- A survey of existing systems already in operation. Analysis of system architecture, service offering, service quality, service pricing.
- A market analysis providing market demand for wideband in-flight multimedia services, classes of services and their projected evolution in the next few years.
- A system design which shall be based on the results of this market analysis. System elements shall be designed to an appropriate level to allow a proper estimation of system cost and identification of critical system components which require special attention.
- A business case shall be produced including pro-forma financial statements to evaluate the attractiveness of the business. Potential regulatory/licensing problems shall be identified.
A proposal for a pre-operational demonstrator system implementation to be considered for a subsequent activity.