AirTV's global S-Band satellite network will deliver BBC World to airlines

MUMBAI: BBC World, the BBC's 24-hour international news and information channel, will soon be available to audiences on the move though the AirTV global satellite network, which will deliver television broadcasts to airlines flying major global routes. 

The initiative came about as a result of growing demand by international travelers for up-to-the-minute news and information from around the world, says a company release. BBC World's programming line-up will be delivered live to airliners through AirTV's network of four geostationary S-Band satellites. Each of these platforms will deliver 60 channels of satellite television, plus e-mail and Internet connectivity. AirTV plans to start its direct-to-aircraft (DTA) service in two and a half years.

BBC World is currently provided to airlines via tape delivery, while satellite and cable distribution is used to serve over 222 million homes, hotels and cruise liners around the world, says the release. BBC World also will also be available through the AirTV satellite network for expanded coverage to the maritime industry and remote global locations that are currently unable to receive the TV channel reliably. The AirTV satellite network will operate at the very high data rate of 80 Mbps per satellite (320 Mbps globally with the four-satellite network).

In addition to television, AirTV also will provide airborne connectivity to both passengers and flight crews. For business and leisure travelers, this allows high-speed access to e-mail and the Internet. For flight crews, it means safety and operational data will be delivered more than 1,000 times faster than the current 9.6 Kbps standard, the release adds.

One of the first new applications for AirTV's service is expected to be weather information that can enable flight crews to anticipate, and possibly avoid, in-flight turbulence. The AirTV system is being developed by an industry team composed of world leaders in their fields: Alcatel, Arianespace, CMC Electronics and SITA. AirTV also has established strategic alliances with Tenzing Communications and Rockwell Collins, which will provide on board equipment and infrastructure to support the AirTV system.

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