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Virgin to be first in return of airline broadband

updated 01:35 pm EDT, Thu September 13, 2007

Virgin America Wi-Fi

Virgin America has announced a deal with AirCell, a data and voice provider for aviation, to bring broadband Internet to all of the former's aircraft sometime in 2008. The access will primarily be delivered via Virgin's Red entertainment system, and allow users to check e-mail, browse the web, or even connect to an office network. Crucially for some travellers, Internet will also be accessible from any device that supports the 802.11 Wi-Fi standard, such as laptops and cellphones.

The news is significant in that inflight broadband has been missing from US airways since 2006, when Boeing's Connexion service shut down due to poor revenue. AirCell laid the groundwork for broadband's return earlier this year, gaining access to unused frequecies that would allow the creation of inflight Wi-Fi hubs. AirCell's technology should also be cheaper to implement than Connexion, lowering prices for both airlines and flyers.

by MacNN Staff




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