Are you tired of slow, unreliable Wi-Fi when flying? Well, Google may soon have a solution. According to CNBC, the Mountain View company is planning to buy Nokia’s wireless airplane broadband technology so that it can develop its own in-flight Wi-Fi.
While most known for its smartphones and other consumer electronics, Nokia is a global leader of telecommunications and information technology (IT) products. Last year, the Finnish tech company unveiled an airplane broadband service with speeds equal to or faster than those provided by the in-flight Wi-Fi company Gogo. Known as air-to-ground (ATG) connectivity, Nokia says the service yields speeds of 75 Mbps, allowing passengers to quickly download files while traveling at 35,000 feet above sea level.
When speaking about Nokia’s new ATG Wi-Fi service, the company’s Thorsten Robercht explained that it’s the first in-flight service that provides speeds equal to those achieved using ground-based broadband connections. In addition to providing passengers with high-speed Wi-Fi, Nokia’s ATG could prove useful for electronic cabin services.
If Google acquires Nokia’s ATG technology, however, it would likely be used to develop an entirely new in-flight Wi-Fi service. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is already working on several broadband service projects. Google Fiber, for instance, is a high-speed broadband project that involves the use of fiber optics cables to transmit data. It currently serves about a half-million users in select U.S. cities. Alphabet is also working on a project that involves the use of low-flying balloons to provide internet connectivity to customers in rural areas.
So, why is Google interested in Nokia’s in-flight Wi-Fi? Aside from its fast speeds, this service could be used to promote Google’s own products, such as YouTube and the Android Play Store. When passengers connect, Google could present them with its products or services, thus driving revenue.
In-flight Wi-Fi is more than just a luxury. For many passengers, it’s an essential tool that allows them to conduct work while traveling. According to a survey conducted by Inmarsat, 61 percent of passengers say in-flight Wi-Fi is a necessity. Unfortunately, most in-flight Wi-Fi services are plagued with slow speeds and unreliable connections. Perhaps Google’s in-flight Wi-Fi service will resolve these concerns.