UK regulator Ofcom has given the go-ahead for commercial vehicles to mount satellite “earth station” antennas that can provide users with internet speeds of up to 10Mbps.
Ofcom said it has set aside 4,128 MHz worth of spectrum specifically for vehicle-mounted earth stations, giving airline, train and ferry operators the chance to deliver speeds up to 10 times faster than before.
Advances in earth station antenna technology have made it easier to provide fast data speeds, even when mounted on fast moving vehicles, the regulator said in a statement.
While aircraft and ships will have to acquire a spectrum licence to deliver the new service, land-based earth stations will not, although they will have to be licensed by Ofcom.
The regulator said it expects to be ready to receive applications for licensing earth stations from ship operators as early as next month. It is working with the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority to make licensing for aircrafts available around the same time.
The first commercial deployments of the technology are expected next year.
Operators have used air-to-ground 3G stations or other satellite-based platforms to provide internet to customers.
Ofcom said satellite “earth station” antennas enable vehicle operators to track satellites more closely and make it easier to maintain speedier and more reliable connections while in the air or on the water.