Most readers here will have probably used Gogo on a commercial airline at some point, but did you know that our company was actually born as a provider of communication services to the business aviation market? Originally named Aircell, our company started by providing analog phone service to private jet owners. Today, Aircell is known as Gogo Business Aviation, and is based out of Broomfield, Colorado.
The history of Aircell is extremely cool – the concept of our airborne communications network was developed on a napkin over barbeque in Denison Texas in 1991. We launched our first air to ground network for phone in 1997, followed by Iridium satellite phone service in 2002. In 2005, we introduced digital communications with the Aircell Axxess system. In 2006, we won an FCC auction for a broadband license, which is backbone of our current air to ground communications system. In 2008, near-global connectivity was added through the addition of SwiftBroadband satellite from Inmarsat.
It may surprise you just how massive our business aviation division is. Currently, Gogo Business Aviation has shipped over 11,000 systems, making us a global leader in airborne business communications. More than 6,600 business aircraft are also flying with our solutions, including the world’s largest fractional ownership fleets. Gogo also is a factory option at every major business aircraft manufacturer.
Our current lineup of capabilities for business aircraft is extensive, and includes these products & services:
Internet and voice services
Now flying on over 3,ooo business aircraft, Gogo Biz is the business aviation version of the ATG service we offer for commercial aircraft. The service allows passengers on business aircraft to surf the Internet within the Continental U.S. and portions of Alaska and Canada. It utilizes antennas on the bottom of the aircraft to communicate with the ground.
Swiftbroadband is a near-global satellite service utilizing Inmarsat for voice and light Internet access. The service requires a small satellite reception antenna on the top of the aircraft and various in-cabin systems.
The Iridium satellite network provides global voice communications and narrowband data. Passengers can make and receive phone calls using the Gogo OnePhone cabin handset, and the system can also deliver a variety of cockpit and operational services.
In 2011, we introduced the world’s first Android based aviation cabin handset. It is globally compatible with all three of our airborne networks: Gogo Biz®, SwiftBroadband and Iridium®. The phone features a big, bright touchscreen display, advanced noise-reduction technology and an easy, intuitive interface.
Gogo Vision for business aviation is the first on-demand IFE system that delivers movies, TV episodes, news, destination weather, moving maps and flight information. Available for aircraft worldwide, Gogo Vision offers a full library of the best titles from the biggest names in global entertainment, all streamed to personal Wi-Fi connected laptops or tablets from an on-board server.
Gogo Text and Talk
Gogo Text & Talk is an add-on for Gogo Biz that lets passengers use their personal smartphone and their own mobile number to call and text in the air just like they do on the ground. The service works through the in-cabin Wi-Fi connection, so there’s no need for picocell technology. Gogo Text and Talk is completely software based, so aircraft with Gogo Biz do not need additional hardware.
UCS 5000 – smart router and media server
The UCS 5000 is business aviation’s first all-in-one smart router and media server. It’s a single system that orchestrates, manages, and delivers an incredible array of connectivity, entertainment, and information services.
As a smart router, it dynamically manages multiple networks. As a full-function media server, it is also a gateway to our Gogo Vision in-flight entertainment system, as well as screen/file sharing and access to Cabin Management System. Additionally, it also enables a full-featured voice experience. The UCS 5000 is small and affordable. It adds new features with software keys instead of hardware. UCS 5000 also reinvents updating – doing so wirelessly and automatically.