BIZ BUZZ: Viasat’s in-flight internet coming
Imagine the increase in productivity if an airline passenger could work while flying because there’s in-flight internet service, or if a shipping passenger or crew member could connect to the rest of the world while in the open seas.
Satellite internet is seen to fill the connectivity gap in archipelagic Philippines’ airspace and maritime territory. And we heard we won’t have to wait too long for this service to become available.
Biz Buzz learned that California-based global satellite internet provider Viasat is preparing to provide within this year the highly sought after connectivity for commercial and private airlines flying into Philippine airspace and shipping lines navigating its waters. Whether for work, entertainment or education, this is seen to put the country at par with others where these services are already commonplace.
However, such in-flight and maritime services will be available only on foreign aircraft and sea vessels passing into our territory, for now. It’s probably because it will take a lot more paperwork if Viasat were to use local networks and infrastructure. Note that flag carrier Philippine Airlines already offers in-flight Wi-Fi service on some international flights but on a very limited basis.
In Davos, Switzerland, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual also announced his meeting with Astranis, a provider of low-level satellite for internet connectivity. This is likewise an American company—a geostationary communications satellite operator and manufacturer.
“They are interested in bringing their operation to the Philippines. And what that will do is [to] be able to provide connectivity to areas which are not yet connected at the moment through the main providers in the Philippines,” Pascual said.
Last year, tycoon Elon Musk’s SpaceX also announced a partnership with Data Lake Inc. of local tycoon Henry “Big Boy” Sy Jr., the first partner of SpaceX’s Starlink in Southeast Asia.
Experts say satellite internet is less reliable than hardwired fixed-line internet, but for communication requirements when traveling by sea or air, wireless is the only way to go.
Big changes are coming to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) courtesy of the reform-oriented team of Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista and his Manila International Airport Authority general manager, Cesar Chiong.
Biz Buzz has learned that these improvements will include reassigning flights to different airport terminals to improve overall efficiency.
Another planned change is the elimination of a longtime adjacent eyesore, which is really no way to visually greet visitors arriving in the Philippines for the first time.
But will these reforms be opposed by the usual status quo forces? Abangan!
—Daxim L. Lucas INQ
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