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US airlines to see in-flight Wi-Fi by 2008

updated 04:35 pm EDT, Tue April 3, 2007

US Airline Wi-Fi in 2008

US airline passengers will soon have the option of wireless Internet in their cabins, thanks in part to developments by Colorado-based AirCell. The company says it has snapped up unused frequencies from the FCC that would let it create a Wi-Fi hotspot in airplane cabins, allowing notebooks as well as properly-equipped handhelds such as the iPhone to access the Internet mid-flight. While the service would block VoIP calls for courtesy reasons, speed would be roughly equivalent to what users can see on the ground, AirCell says.

Importantly, the service is said to be much less expensive than Boeing's now defunct Connexion service. As the system is relatively cheap to deploy and splits the revenue with airlines, a passenger would have access for $10 per day. The plan could also tap into existing subscriptions with land-based Wi-Fi hotspots from Boingo, T-Mobile, and others, letting their users connect at a lower rate.

AirCell is currently negotiating deals with several US airlines and hopes to launch its first offerings early next year, though it has yet to name its first partner.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    $10 a day?

    Yeah, that might be the starting price, but I can't imagine the airlines not gouging their customers.

    And besides VOIP, how will they deal with other stuff, like video chats, audio chats, people going to really annoying web sites (just what I need, to have the guy next to me checking out the latest pix on his favorite "I like big girls!" site).

  1. gskibum3

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2006

    0

    Wireless?

    That would sure be a long cable if it had to reach from New York to San Francisco! :)

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