WiFi on Airlines

I am looking forward to more widespread adoption of broadband on domestic flights. Here is an article from itWorldCanada discussing the issue. I was quoted in the article and so was Greg Welch from GlobalTouch Telecom:

But many other players, not just big telcos, may also try to get a piece of the action, says Greg Welch, CEO of GlobalTouch Telecom Inc., a VoIP provider based in Los Angeles, Calif.
"This could be a telecom play only, but other providers of ancillary services may also be interested," he says. "Content providers like Google or Yahoo may get involved, and even a company like Microsoft may want to get into this space and get control. With broadband access, these companies can push their search engines, portals and content."

These are the types of questions that will be answered as the playing field becomes clearer in the future, he says. The opportunities will be exciting for service providers. "This expands competition immensely. Everything’s starting to sing together: IPTV, VoIP, different streaming videos, sites and portals. All these services will be wrapped up in a big bow and provided to passengers on airplanes," says Welch.

Rich Tehrani, president of Technology Marketing Corp. (TMC), a publisher of communications industry news based in Norwalk, Conn., believes airplane Wi-Fi will encourage demand for airline travel, and will have a dramatic impact on business travel.

Tehrani points out that business travelers are currently cut off for large blocks of time from telephone, e-mail and corporate networks. With VoIP, phone calls will no longer be restricted, as VoIP calls don’t cause the interference with navigation systems that cell phones do. "This will unleash all that time wasted on flights," he says. "This means wherever business people are, they will be able to communicate in the air with their clients and staff."

Many companies are already transitioning to VoIP, says Tehrani, and airline Wi-Fi will stimulate demand further and encourage more services. In addition to making more productive use of time, Tehrani also points out VoIP will have a mobilizing effect on companies, as staff will no longer need to wait until the boss gets back from New York or London to learn about business decisions made while he was away.

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