054 – Chris Dankberg of Viasat – Chasing a 700mph Plane with WiFi

The real story behind WiFi on flights with Viasat…

Chris Dankberg, who runs Partnerships for Viasat (a global communications company that believes everyone and everything in the world can be connected) joins John Matson and Bess Chapman in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

  • How Viasat is about solving really hard problems
  • Why WiFi is slow on flights
  • Prior to 5 years ago,ViaSat was about WiFi via satellite for government and private air services
  • People got used to texting and checking sites that were urgent for destination (weather, hotels, etc.)
  • The growth of market for Viasat’s tech , high capacity satellites over different frequency bands enabled differently, market wasn’t ready
  • Why WiFi on planes is so expensive
  • Allocating capacity on an as-needed basis
  • Unprecented bandwidth economics
  • The abiity that you could hand off seamlessly from ground to air started being palatable
  • The opportunity waited for Viasat to launch a satellite
  • Demand wasn’t forecasted correctly, so there wasn’t enough supply for demand
  • Started with business travelers with expense accounts
  • Battery life on laptops got better, people started using phones
  • Something not considered was that the whole plane would use wifi
  • Tech is evolving, organizing data on what is important to customers how they used it
  • Second and third screen use and solving that need
  • Pain point – trains – slower with more tunnels, different angle to sky
  • On the early side of making online video streaming real with companies like Amazon
  • Disconnecting when traveling because of little kids demanding full attention
  • Trips that changed Dankberg’s life, created big decisions

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