updated 04:05 pm EDT, Tue March 11, 2008
Gogo in-air Internet Soon
The first full in-flight Internet access since the end of Boeing's Connexion service is coming in the spring, according to a GigaOM report. Now titled gogo, the service developed by AirCell will allow browsing and other common Internet tasks over a modified version of a EVDO Revision A cellular connection (used by Sprint and Verizon) to supply a 3Mbps Internet link shared by the whole cabin through Wi-Fi. By compressing the data sent across the network, each user gets a connection closer to 2Mbps, gogo claims.
The network should also expand to support faster Internet access standards such as EVDO Revision B or Long Term Evolution (LTE) when they become available. Regardless of the end speed, routers are onboard to prevent heavy use from pushing users out of the service.
AirCell will separate its service from the free but limited services offered by JetBlue by charging for its relatively unrestricted access. Long-distance flights will add $13 per trip to the ticket price for access over the entire duration, with short hops that last three hours or less costing $10. Significantly, the company also plans to offer a less expensive mobile-only tier plan for the iPhone and other Wi-Fi handhelds, though it hasn't said when this option will be available to passengers.
Access should be available first through American Airlines and Virgin America, who will initially offer gogo through flights between major hubs such as Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Francisco. Wider use is expected over time, though only Virgin has said it plans to build the feature into all of its aircraft over time.
(image via Keynamics)