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Google is coming for Nokia’s in-flight broadband business

In-flight connectivity is booming in business, and now Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL) Google is all set to join the race by acquiring the airplane-broadband business from its long-time partner Nokia. Both Google and Nokia share a strong partnership — quite evident since Nokia began producing Android-powered smartphones.  And now using Nokia’s technology, Google is aiming to extend its services to the skies.

courtesy: Noah_Loverbear, Wikimedia Commons

According to reports by Bloomberg, Google is eyeing Nokia’s airplane broadband business — Oyj. The companies, however, are yet to reach a final decision.

There is a strong demand for WiFi access aboard planes by passengers on some long flights. Satellite and communications companies are racing to offer broadband services on flights because they believe this could create a channel of revenue in the coming years as passengers who want to stay online will pay for the services.

According to the professional services firm Deloitte, nearly 80 percent of the passengers opted for in-flight WiFi services during their flight journeys.

But the present in-flight Wi-Fi system that is made available through satellite technology have failed to tempt passengers to opt for the services due to the patchy coverage, and slow speeds. But these pitfalls are being addressed with a new generation of satellites paired with LTE technology.

The LTE A2G (Air-to-Ground) cellular-based system launched by Nokia last year is said to be cheaper and faster than satellite. There would also be an improvement in latency. The only drawback to LTE — based solution is that has a limited land mass, unlike satellites that can cover both land and sea.

The Finnish company’s LTE A2G cellular-based system is said to create a direct link between the aircraft and the ground rather than bouncing the signal off a satellite. By acquiring this, Google wants to tap more customers to use its products such as Play Music and YouTube without compromising on the speed.

This latest move by Alphabet will be an addition to its ongoing connectivity based projects. Last year the company won the approval of FCC to install its Project Loon Peurto Rico. With this initiative, the company planned to deliver internet using air balloons.

 

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