Australia’s largest telco Telstra is conducting flight tests that would allow inflight wi-fi access using 4G mobile phone technology.
The technology, dubbed ‘Skinet’, uses four specially-built mobile phone tower sites with upwards-facing antennas located underneath the Melbourne-Sydney flightpath and a specially-fitted antenna on the aircraft.
Telstra executive director of networks Mike Wright said Telstra was exploring the “possible economics around building a nationwide, commercial LTE network in the sky”.
“We were able to successfully establish and maintain data connections, achieving a maximum data throughput of 15 Mbps, with an average throughput around 10 Mbps,” Wright wrote on the Telstra Exchange blog.
The tests were conducted using a Cessna and a private jet flying between Australia’s two most populous cities, according to the Australian Financial Review.
Wright said high-speed broadband could be used not only by passengers to get online but also for a range of “remote monitoring and control applications”.
Additional tests are slated for later in 2014.