The proprietary hybrid technology will use satellite for receive only (transmission to the plane) and Gogo's Air to Ground network for the return link (transmission to the ground).
Existing two-way satellite antennas in the commercial aviation market have limited power for transmissions so they don't interfere with other satellites. But Gogo says it will be utilizing a Ku antenna developed specifically for receive only functionality. “The advantages of using satellite for reception only and Gogo's ATG Network for the return link are unprecedented,” the company said in a release.
While this all sounds like good news for tablet-toting travelers, you’ll have to wait a while to use the service. Gogo GTO is set to launch on Virgin America flights sometime in the second half of 2014.
"When we launched our in-flight Internet service five years ago, we were able to deliver 3.1 Mbps per aircraft through our Air to Ground network," said Gogo president and CEO Michael Small. “About a year ago, we began rapidly deploying our next generation Air to Ground service that took peak speeds to 9.8 Mbps. GTO will now take peak speeds to more than 60 Mbps. That's a 20-fold increase from where we started.