Gulfstream yesterday ordered 40 of Arinc’s new SkyLink inflight broadband satellite communications systems for installation on its jets. It is the launch order for the system, which Arinc claims offers Internet connections that are five times faster and a third the price of Inmarsat’s rival Swift64 service.
Arinc senior director for inflight passenger systems Tom Mullan said that SkyLink is now achieving connection rates of around 540 kilobits per second. By the time the service goes fully operational during the second quarter of next year it is expected to deliver data rates as high as 8 to 10 megabits per second. The Annapolis, Md.-based company sells monthly subscription packages along the lines of those in the cellphone market and these equate to a connection cost of around $3.33 per minute.
Mullan said that in a demonstration to Gulfstream last week, Arinc tried to access the same Web site via a broadband landline, SkyLink and Swift64. He claimed that SkyLink reached the site less than a second after the land connection, but several minutes before the Swift64 link.
But here at the show, Inmarsat marketing manager Simon Tudge maintained that Swift64 providers are not as far behind the new broadband service as the basic
64-Kbps connection rate would suggest. For instance, EMS Technologies has two 64-Kbps channels and, by using data compression, claims speeds equivalent to 512 Kbps.
Swift64 service providers are offering ISDN connections at rates of between $10 and $15 per minute.
Arinc is at Booth No. 4475. Inmarsat and Stratos can be found here at Booth No. 3135.