Broadband access on-board aircraft is today mostly not available, and when it is available; it is through costly and highly capacity-limited Wi-Fi through satellite connections, and without any seamless relation or connection to the mobile broadband networks consumers normally connect to on the ground. With European harmonization of spectrum ongoing (CEPT ECC Decisions to be approved in June/July 2015 for 1900-1920 MHz and 5855-5875 MHz), aircraft manufacturers and telco vendors need to join efforts to be able to develop new network architectures and communication systems, and new business models, to provide broadband services for a huge customer market with 160 airlines and 4500 aircrafts (in 2014) in Europe. In 2017, 11.5 million flight movements are expected, a 21% increase compared to 2010, around 70% of which is within the continent consisting of the main part of airline business in Europe .
Current solutions relying on Satellite backhaul connectivity and In-Cabin WiFi access has several limitations ranging from higher costs for the service providers, inability to support broadband cellular services, capacity-related issues etc for the service providers and consumers alike. By integrating gate-to-gate seamless 4/5G broadband technologies and associated services for consumers together with the DA2GC (Direct Air -to- Ground Communications) communication systems leveraging cellular standards for backhaul (also to rely on Satellite connectivity), the project will offer excellent market opportunities for Telco operators to offer seamless communication and data service plans to consumers and at the same time, will permit passengers to experience seamless 4/5G experience in-air. The project will also provide improved services for transportation safety boards and European flight movement tracking agencies to have enriched monitoring and management approaches (e.g., live cockpit video streams, flight data information in the cloud etc) and for premium services.
Create-Net will be involved mainly in research and technology development/maturation activities surrounding on-board virtualized LTE small cells, and related to network management methods and strategies leveraging virtualized and software-defined networking extensions for RAN (radio access networks). The project is led by KTH Sweden, and is carried out in partnership with Airbus and Ericsson.