updated 10:50 am EDT, Fri September 16, 2011
Gogo ATG-4 Wi-Fi and Vision video due in 2012
Gogo has unrolled a major upgrade to its in-air Wi-Fi access for 2012. Starting with Virgin America, its ATG-4 spec Wi-Fi promises to quadruple the practical speed, enough to where HD video streaming is an option. It upgrades to the faster EVDO Revision B standard for its 3G and also has upgrades to improve the connection quality, such as two modems on the aircraft to reduce bottlenecks and a directional antenna to focus the signal.
Virgin planes should start carrying the faster access sometime in the first half of next year. Other airlines will likely get the upgrade but haven't been included in the immediate schedule. Service is likely to stay at similar prices that range from $5 for short hop flights to $13 for long trips, with mobile hardware paying less in some cases.
American Airlines is getting its own separate upgrade. Vision, Gogo's media service, is now expected to reach 400 of the carrier's aircraft and effectively blanket the airline by the end of 2012. Viewers will have the option of paying to stream movies and TV shows of their own choice instead of being limited to what can fit on the plane itself.
Promo pricing on Vision has been extended out to October 15 for the 15 Boeing 767-200 planes on American that carry it so far. Movies start at $4 per viewing and TV shows 99 cents, both of which are currently less expensive than iTunes.