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FCC Clears Way for SKYLink
Posted: 07-Apr-2005 [Source: ARINC Inc.]

[SKYLink debuts on Gulfstream aircraft offering in-flight direct satellite broadband connectivity with in-flight video conferencing and telephony using VoIP solution in the planning stages.]

Annapolis, MD -- ARINC Direct today announced receipt of an FCC operational license for its SKYLink(SM) by ARINC Direct satellite broadband service for business aircraft. The company also announced it has launched service coverage throughout North American airspace, with high-speed Internet and other in-flight applications available today.

SKYLink is the world's first broadband communication solution for business aircraft. Its two-way broadband access over North America is delivered via a Ku-band satellite operated by SKYLink partner and investor SES Americom. ARINC's FCC license allows up to 1000 aircraft to use SKYLink service over the continental United States.

The launch customer for SKYLink is Gulfstream, which has flight-tested SKYLink on GIV, GV, and G550 aircraft since 2003, and has purchased the first 15 sets of SKYLink avionics to fill existing customer orders. Gulfstream offers SKYLink as original equipment on G350, G450, G500, and G550 business jets, and retrofit installations on all current production Gulfstream large cabin aircraft. Gulfstream will also install SKYLink on other business aircraft through its General Dynamics Aviation Services facilities.

SKYLink turns a business jet into a fully-connected office in the sky, with high-speed connectivity from the parking pad to cruising altitude. SKYLink takes full advantage of Ku-band satellite capacity to offer a range of business applications including Internet access, E-mail, and corporate Intranet access. Also planned soon are in-flight Video conferencing and telephony using a Voice over IP (VoIP) solution.

The compact SKYLink avionics package from ViaSat, Inc. weighs less than 40 lbs, including the transceiver, antenna, and antenna control unit. The tail-mounted antenna fits under a low-profile radome for low air resistance and maximum fuel economy.

"The award of the SKYLink FCC license allows the commercial launch of SKYLink by ARINC Direct to roll forward immediately," stated Dave Poltorak, ARINC Vice President, Business Aviation Services. "Our launch customer, Gulfstream, has already logged more than 700 hours of successful flight with the experimental SKYLink service on board, and their customers have been very pleased with the quality, speed and availability of the service."

SKYLink achieves blazingly fast connections to the Internet, virtual private networks, and corporate Intranets, delivering data to the aircraft up to five times faster than land-based digital subscriber lines--up to 3.5Mbps. Data rates off the aircraft are 128Kbps. Once SKYLink is installed, service is distributed to one or many users on board via a wired or wireless LAN. ARINC Direct anticipates the expansion of SKYLink Ku-band satellite coverage to the North Atlantic routes and Europe in 2006.

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