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Qantas brings free inflight Wi-Fi to Australian skies

From next year Qantas customers will be able to enjoy free Wi-Fi on their flights thanks to a partnership with global broadband services provider ViaSat.

An industry-leader, the Wi-Fi will be up to ten times faster than standard on-board Wi-Fi, which will allow customers to stream movies, TV shows and up-to-date news bulletins.

Similarly, passengers will be able to enjoy live sports during their domestic flights, thanks to the high-quality Wi-Fi connection.

Trials are to begin soon with a Qantas Boeing 737 aircraft in late 2016, which will be retrofitted with the appropriate equipment to enable the Wi-Fi connection.

Once the testing has been completed, plans are to roll-out the technology throughout Qantas Domestic's fleet of Airbus A330s and Boeing B737s early next year.

Speaking on the implementation of the technology, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said that the company's aim was to bring the world's best inflight Wi-Fi to Australia.

He commented: "The sheer size of the Australian landmass creates some significant challenges for inflight connectivity but the recent launch of nbn's satellite has opened up new opportunities that we plan to take advantage of with ViaSat's help."

In partnership with Qantas, ViaSat will be providing the airline with connectivity between the aircraft and the high capacity KA-band satellite and ground stations.

It is these that then provide a link to the internet that will be able to function throughout the Qantas aircrafts.

Mr Joyce added: "This service will give Qantas customers download speeds in the air similar to what they're used to on the ground."

He believes that these improvements to inflight connectivity will also open up the doors to improvements for in-flight entertainment.

As well as making Wi-Fi improvements for its domestic flights, Qantas also hopes to bring the same level of service for its international and regional fleets.

Speaking on the partnership with Qantas, Mark Dankberg, ViaSat's chairman and CEO, said: "We are delighted to be working with Qantas, who share our commitment to offering airline passengers the best, most convenient in-flight connectivity experience."

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