Grant aids telecoms use in planes -

Grant aids telecoms use in planes

LONDON — The University of Bradford has won a £50,000 grant to set up a unit to help provide aircraft passengers and cabin crews with better telecommunications during flight.

The Aeronautical and Wireless Communications Agile Technology Unit (ATU) has been launched with the grant from the Northern Aerospace Technology Exploitation Centre (NATEC).

Dr Fun Hu, a Reader in the University's Department of Cybernetics, Internet and Virtual Systems, who received the grant on behalf of the University, said, “The exploitation opportunities of the ATU are potentially huge. The aeronautical sector is the only technological sector where telecommunication operators and service providers have failed to gain a foothold. However, this situation is set to change over the next two to three years.

“The belief within the aeronautical sector is that the passengers are now ready for mobile solutions, in much the same way as commuters experience on the railways. Such an opportunity to enter a market in its infancy cannot be missed.”

She said that although the ATU would initially concentrate on aeronautical passenger communications service provision, “there is no reason why the technology cannot be adapted for use in other transport sectors”.

The ATU will provide expertise in areas such as Video on Demand, Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS), Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) and Bluetooth internet access and virtual private networks.

The ATU will benefit from state-of-the-art hardware and software through the University’s newly established Mobile and Satellite Communications Research Centre (MSCRC) for research and commercial development.

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