WiFi TV in The Air


Beoing’s Connexion unit is working on ways to deliver upto four live television channels to airline passengers using laptop computers using its in-flight wifi service. The signals from stations such as BBC, CNBC, MSNBC and EuroNews are going to be grabbed from satellites extending these to laptops via 802.11 connections. Well, it cannot match JetBlue’s fantastic satellite TV service 9 (just because it is free) which gives you many more channel options. JetBlue uses Airbus airliners, so its no surprise Boeing is countering with its own hack. Singapore Airlines will be the first one to try it out. Chances of the service coming to the US? Slim, given the dismal condition of the airlines these days. (More @ Reuters)


Om Malik

Surfing for porn up in the air, it is called bastardizing the whole concept of mile high club. not sure I want that…

Jesse Kopelman

In a strange twist of fate, I am wearing an AirCell shirt (and I have never been an employee) right now . . ! Back on the subject, I’d rather Connexion give me straight access to the internet than waste bandwidth on crap like the TV stations you listed. It might be hard to resist surfing for porn, but I’ll take the risk. Actually, internet access might let me get some work done on the plane which would be quite nice and make me far more interested in flying airlines with that feature.

Eric Lemond

Hi Om,
I love your Blog – you do a great job of highlighting & breaking key news.

On the subject of the chances of service coming to the US, I would argue that it will happen in late 2006. I’m biased as AirCell (my employer) is working in this area, but there are some factors that will make this fly even in the carnage of the airline industry.

– the FCC is auctioning 4MHz of spectrum for the purpose of providing broadband to airlines. Auction will likely close Q1 of 2006.

– Service can be provided using standard 3G cellular equipment with a low equipment cost for the airlines and relatively few cell sites. With revenue sharing on the service, payback to the airlines is ~1year.

– The end result will be service at pricing that mirrors that available on the ground.

I won’t give you a sales pitch, but wanted to make you aware that the solution en route. More info here http://www.aircell.com/news/news_pr_detail.php?PR_ID=37 & here http://wireless.fcc.gov/auctions/default.htm?job=auction_summary&id=N6

Eric Lemond

Comments are closed.