United Airlines And Verizon To Offer Internet In The Air

Earlier, Techdirt had a look at how Lufthansa was providing WiFi Internet access in planes with a solution powered by Boeing’s Connexion service. This service uses satellites and a high fee to offer fast Internet to users for long-haul flights. Now, United Airlines has announced a different Internet connection for their planes which is slower, and also much cheaper. The JetConnect service (by Verizon) will allow narrowband connections to the Internet for about $5 a flight. By narrowband, read that the service will enable an assortment of HTML pages of news, weather, sports, and city info which is stored locally on the plane, but no Web access to the WWW 30,000 feet below. IM and text e-mail access to the terrestrial Internet will be permitted since text-only e-mail is not bandwidth-intensive. The service will work by a “dial-up” connection through the phone in the seat-backs, but the dial-up process redirects all dialed connections to the modems on-board the plane no matter the settings in your computer. This is a good solution for many users who don’t crave “web browsing” but only want to send/check a few e-mails while in-flight. It’s a good use of the existing Verizon phones and infrastructure, which have been notoriously underused by customers reluctant to fork out $7 for a phone call.

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