A few weeks ago, Boeing made news for announcing its plans to shut down its in-flight broadband offering, Connexion. While the company had a few takers (all outside of the US), it was proving too expensive to equip planes and then to run the service. Some existing users were pretty upset by the fact that they might not be able to use the internet in the air going forward, but it looks like Panasonic is coming to the rescue. They're not looking at taking over the Boeing service, but claim they've figured out a way to use a similar approach so that they can easily switch existing Connexion-outfitted planes to their own service (which they also claim is faster and cheaper). You knew that someone else was going to get into this business, and it's actually nice to see Panasonic step in with a solution that tries to build on what Boeing already had put in place. Panasonic is using the death of Connexion smartly for their own marketing efforts, asking airlines that currently use the system to commit to switch over within 60 days, to avoid any downtime for fliers. It's good that many existing in-flight internet services will continue, but the real issue is always initial installation. If it still costs too much (or grounds a plane for too long) then it's never going to get enough traction to be profitable.
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