Two big stories out today about in-flight connectivity, both of which have me very excited.
The first is an announcement from Virgin America and Google that the latter is going to be sponsoring the gogo service for a two month period – November 10 – January 15. No credit card, no restrictions. Just an email address and accept the Terms of Service and you’re online. Considering that I have a flight booked my first on Virgin America) for November 11 from Los Angeles to JFK I’m pretty happy about that for very selfish reasons.
The second story comes from The Runway Girl, one of my favorite reads for in-flight entertainment news. She’s at the NBAA conference this week and has been reporting all sorts of cool stuff. The coolest, however, is an announcement from LiveTV, the jetBlue subsidiary that operates the in-flight TV systems for that carrier and Continental, among other things. LiveTV has been suggesting that there is a good chance additional in-flight internet connectivity will be coming online in 2010 and the latest news is that they’ve got an antenna ready to go for providing the service. Even better, the cost of operating the service is so low that they expect airlines to be able to offer it on a complimentary basis to passengers. Oh, and did I mention that the service would be available absolutely anywhere on the globe – including the polar regions – thanks to the fact that it uses the Iridium satellite network? This is nothing short of huge in terms of in-flight connectivity.
Now we just need LiveTV to finish up the R&D part of the project and get to the implementation phase so that I can have my emails for free in flight.
It is pretty clear that there is a demand for internet connectivity in-flight. And the fact that companies are continuing to find ways to reduce the costs to the end-user – something that will be critical to actually seeing high adoption rates – is a wonderful thing. Free is always better, right?
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