In-Flight Internet Access Update

Rich Tehrani : Communications and Technology Blog - Tehrani.com
Rich Tehrani
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In-Flight Internet Access Update

I think I want internet access when I fly. I really do. Yes, the plane is usually a quiet time to reflect and write compelling content… Still, I can now feel comfortable flying during the business day from the west coast to east because I will not miss anything that is happening. While in the air, I can participate in decisions and stay on top of the latest news without missing anything.
 
JetBlue really kicked off the latest round of stories about in-flight internet access and now it seems many airlines have an internet strategy of one sort or another.
 
Some which fly over land have base stations and others use satellite.
 
According to the Wall Street Journal:
 
JetBlue's LiveTV subsidiary paid the Federal Communications Commission $7 million for wireless spectrum that one test JetBlue aircraft has been using since Dec. 11 to communicate with about 100 cell towers spread across the continental United States. The one-megahertz frequency band allows that aircraft to offer free email and instant-messaging services on laptops and handheld devices through Yahoo Inc. and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd.
 
Interestingly many reports said that JetBlue internet access would be available by Blackberry only. The fact the company will support laptops as well is welcome news to those who are Blackberry-challenged.
 
According to the AP:
 
AIRCELL -- Delivering high-speed Internet services using a 3-megahertz frequency band licensed from the Federal Communications Commission for $31 million in 2006. Initial service over continental United States, with plans to expand to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Service on some flights of AMR Corp.'s American Airlines and Virgin America to begin in 2008. Prices expected at about $10 a flight, though Virgin may offer cheaper, la carte services on seatback computers. Aircell LLC is based in Itasca, Ill.
 
Notice the phrase “some flights” above.
 
Now the fun part begins. I already get upset when I am on an American Airlines flight which has no power on it. Some of the older TWA planes didn’t have this capability. Now I need to worry about Internet access as well?
 
The challenge will be thinking you are able to get online when you aren’t. Hopefully the airlines will let passengers know ahead of time whether their flights will be Internet-enabled or not.
 
Regardless – having internet access on the airplane is a wonderful productivity booster and should make business travelers much more efficient. I am looking forward to blogging from the air.


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