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Qantas Reveals Inflight Wi-Fi Usage

Qantas have announced that over 40,000 people have connected to its “free and fast” inflight Wi-Fi since launching in April.

According to the airline, an average of 32% of passengers onboard the Boeing 737-800 VH-XZB, which flies to locations along the east coast including Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, connected to Wi-Fi during their flight.

Passengers spent the most time on emails and browsing the web, particularly news sites, followed by social media, and streaming video and music. Messaging services and online shopping were also popular, while Facebook was the most popular social media application with passengers.

Up to 3,500 passengers per week fly on the VH-XZB aircraft, which was the first to be fitted out with ViaSat’s Ka-band satellite system to “tap into the wide coverage and high speeds of the nbn”. Qantas had some initial problems with the official launch of the trial back in March.

Reliability for the system has improved to above 98%, and download speeds are “routinely” above 12Mbps, higher than the Australian average broadband speed of 10.1Mbps. Qantas said that, because the Wi-Fi is offered for free, it was expecting usage of between 30-50%, higher than the industry average of 10%.

The airline has fitted out a second aircraft with the latest equipment from ViaSat, and said it is planning to have eight additional aircraft ready by late September as the trial transitions to a broader rollout.

Due to the use of the latest technology, which Qantas said will provide improvements to speeds and reliability, Wi-Fi on these aircraft won’t be available to the public immediately due to the need for testing.

Qantas is planning to have all of its domestic B737s and A330s fitted out by late 2018, a total of around 80 aircraft carrying an estimated 15 million passengers each year.

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