In 2008, the Gogo company (formerly known as Aircell) introduced their revolutionary in-flight broadband Internet service for commercial and business aircrafts. “Using Gogo’s exclusive network and services, passengers with laptops and other Wi-Fi enabled devices can get online on all domestic AirTran Airways, Delta Air Lines, Virgin America flights and on select Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways flights, Frontier Airlines coming soon – as well as on thousands of business aircraft – bringing the total to more than 6,000 Gogo equipped aircraft to date” (Meet Gogo, 2012).
Company founder, Jimmy Ray, first envisioned in-flight connectivity in 1991. The idea came to him while sitting at a restaurant in Texas. He sketched a picture of his idea for an aircraft telephone system on a napkin (Figure 1). This was the creation of Aircell. Through a unique partnership with cellular providers, Aircell began providing analog-based voice communications on private aircrafts in North America. By the late 1990s, Aircell had successfully leveraged a satellite-based system to offer voice communication on overseas flights. In 2006, Aircell was awarded the FCC’s exclusive Air-To-Ground (ATG) 3Mhz broadband frequency license, which allowed them to build an uninterrupted network across the continental U.S.. Aircell completed its network in 2008, and revolutionized commercial air travel when they unveiled the Gogo online service on commercial flights (Technology, 2012).
Gogo’s mission is “to make Gogo everyone’s favorite part of flying” (Nasdaq, 2011). Gogo is focused on keeping airline passengers connected to all of the things that matter to them. The company wants to transform flights from just a mode of transportation to an enjoyable and innovative technological experience. Gogo goes on to explain the details of how the company wishes to convert dull flights into fun and convenient connectivity:
“We transform the in-cabin experience for airline passengers by delivering ground-breaking and branded in-flight Internet connectivity and an array of digital entertainment solutions. We enable our commercial airline partners to differentiate their service offerings, increase customer satisfaction and unlock new revenue streams. We provide our media partners with access to an attractive and undistracted audience. We provide our business aviation customers with a full suite of in-flight Internet connectivity and other voice and data communications products and services, allowing discerning private jet passengers the ability to stay connected in flight. Our goal is to enable the connected lifestyle of today’s business and leisure travelers in the air” (Nasdaq, 2011).
Gogo owns more than 100 cellphone towers that have been equipped to point their signals at the sky instead of the ground. Aircrafts then pick up the signal through a receiver installed on the underside of the plane. When this occurs, the data signal is circulated throughout the cabin via a Wi-Fi system (wireless data exchange). “In addition to Aircell’s existing ATG technology, the company will enhance current technologies via a next-generation version of ATG called “ATG-4” as well as Ka-band satellite technology when it becomes available” (Technology, 2012). The Ka-band technology will provide added capacity to increase what is available through ATG and ATG-4 technology.
Gogo is very focused on customer satisfaction. In order to please the greatest amount of customers, however, “Gogo may prioritize, restrict, or set limits (such as bandwidth allocations, or limits on types of content accessed or transferred) on your use of the Service for certain applications. In times of heavy network usage, this may impact the functioning of high bandwidth applications. As with any mobile...