JetBlue's Free Wi-Fi is Apparently Good Enough for Air Force One
Commercial airlines are increasingly providing customers with fast ViaSat in-flight satellite Wi-Fi, and soon the US government will as well. ViaSat Wi-Fi will soon be installed on Air Force One and other 'VIP and special air mission aircraft.' This means that the President, Vice President, Secretary of State and other high-level government officials and their staff will be connected to the same satellite network as passengers on United, JetBlue, Virgin America and American Airlines (in 2017).
Other government aircraft have been using ViaSat for several years, and the connection will certainly be secure for government use — but it's still amazing that high-level government business will be conducted over the same satellites that everyday commercial passengers are connected to.
The $73 million contract was awarded to ViaSat because of its innovative hybrid Ku-/Ka-band connection which allows for automatic switching between satellites with different on-board tech. This ensures that the aircraft will always be connected to the strongest available network. Senior government officials and their staff can expect 'a Situation Room in the Sky' experience, meaning they will be able stream HD video for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, en-route command and control, search and rescue missions and many other functions critical to government operations.