Russia pondering options for in-flight internet
While the Aircraft Interiors Expo is taking place in Hamburg, options are being considered to expand the use of in-flight internet in Russia...
Yesterday the Russian Communications and Press Ministry suggested that a network of ground stations would be built across the country in order to beam internet to commercial aircraft.
While it is not clear who would operate this network it sounds to me like the sort of ground-based on-board internet system that GoGo operates across the US.
Actually, Russia's main airline, Aeroflot, is currently in the process of rolling out satellite-based OnAir on-board wi-fi across its long-haul fleet and had, since the end of 2010, been offering on-board connectivity through an agreement with Russian mobile phone operator Megafon, that installed base stations in some of Aeroflot's aircraft (I imagine these base stations pick up the conventional cell phone signal while the aircraft is flying over the huge Russian expanses).
Now, I am not an expert in the topic of on-board wi-fi connectivity but I guess all these different technologies might be complementary from a technical point of view, with the long-haul fleet equipped with satellite-based systems providing connectivity on overseas routes and the rest using ground-based systems delivering the service on domestic flights. What the business case would be for each of them is an entirely different matter (any comments or suggestions welcome in this regard!)
By the way, here is a great summary of the different technologies used to provide in-flight and their costs.