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Ofcom greenlights 10x faster Internet on planes, trains, boats

Internet connections up to 10x faster have been given the green light to get online when you're on a boat, train or plane.


Frustrated by slow Internet when you're moving fast? Want to get online on the move? Luckily, Internet connections up to 10x faster have been given the green light to get online when you're on a journey, whether it's by boat, train or plane.

Telecoms watchdog Ofcom has approved the installation of 'earth stations' on your train, plane or ship. Each earth station device connects to a geostationary satellite 22,300 miles up, and Ofcom reckons the results could be an Internet connection hitting 50Mbps to a single earth station, and in turn topping 10Mbps to individual passengers.

Ofcom says the first superfast Internet connections should be available for you to enjoy some time this year.

"Whether you see going without broadband on long-haul trips as a blessing or curse, being connected is no longer a luxury, it's a necessity," says Adam Kirby, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com.

Isabel Montesdeoca, Managing Director of travel expenses service Concur, concurs: "Access to internet services isn't a luxury on the road. It's the difference between missing a flight and boarding, between a successful meeting and getting lost on the way there, between following up on a lead and seeing the email too late. We urge travel companies to offer access to superfast Wi-Fi as standard, not as an additional charge, because it's as essential to the traveller as running water or electricity is to the consumer."

That said, Adam Kirby thinks the broadband industry shouldn't lose focus. "While earth stations are now improving things for broadband users on the move, too many people at home are still having to endure a woefully sluggish and patchy service. Before Ofcom gets carried away with providing super-fast speeds on transport, it needs to concentrate on getting the basics right and make sure broadband in homes is vastly improved - particularly in remote rural areas that sometimes get ignored."

Do you want superfast Internet when you're travelling, or is a long journey a welcome respite from the connected world? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or take a trip to our Facebook page.