Qantas will commence testing of a proof-of-concept NBN-based satellite service onboard its aircraft at the start of February for the next nine months.
The airline first announced it would use the NBN's Sky Muster satellites to offer free wi-fi on planes almost a year ago. It revealed it would partner with ViaSat for the connectivity between Qantas aircraft and the satellite and ground stations once its full product is launched.
It started testing the service last year on a Boeing 747, and will now start trialling on Boeing 737s and A330 Airbuses.
A test agreement published by NBN Co today details the terms of the proof-of-concept trial for Qantas' "aeronautical mobile satellite service", which is expeced to inform NBN Co's impending satellite mobility product.
Under the PoC, the product will be delivered via a layer 3 VPN connection over satellite, with NBN Co handling the connection between the air network interface and NBN Co's mobility network network interface (M-NNI) located at its point of interconnect.
Network speeds for the trial will be limited to 20 Mbps per aircraft, and connections will only be available for specific flight corridors.
Qantas has said the service should provide speeds 10 times faster than current onboard wi-fi, and would be made available free to domestic passengers.
“You won’t be limited to checking your email or Facebook – it’s going to be about watching the football live, streaming your favourite TV show or movie, catching up on the latest YouTube videos, or shopping online," CEO Alan Joyce said at the time.
NBN Co has offered satellite services to end users since April last year after the launch of its first Sky Muster Satellite in October 2015. Its second satellite launched the following October.