Big news is out this morning from the APEX Expo where Gogo is talking about their new Ground to Orbit (GTO) solution. It is a hybrid platform which will leverage their core ATG connectivity for uploads from the planes to the internet and add on a Ku-band satellite link for the delivery of data from the internet to the planes. By using a receive-only antenna they can realize a significantly higher gain on the system which translates to much higher download speeds relative to comparable bi-directional systems. It is also a smaller, lighter and less complex which means a lower TCO. And the initial testing suggests 60mbit speeds are sustainable on the kit.
But the system is not without its own limitations. Most significant is that it requires the ATG link to work. That means GTO will only function when the aircraft are in current gogo ATG service areas. No over-water flights for this system. Gogo is still up-beat on the utility of the offering, talking about the transcon market at the obvious market for the solution. And launch partner Virgin America is keen to get it in the air as well, noting that they were also the ATG4 launch partner. The system is expected to be live in the second half of 2014.
This is a big step forward in the market, to be sure. Like all the other options out there GTO has is pros and cons, but it is definitely changing the landscape.
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