JetBlue Providing WiFi/TV For Other Airlines?

from the helping-the-industry-out dept

Prior to 9/11, there was a lot of effort being put into plans for internet access from airplanes. However, the resulting turmoil in the airline industry put all of those plans on hold. In the end, that may have been a good thing, as the early technology was both expensive and clunky, and only a few generations later are we starting to see technology that is both affordable to install and use showing up. In the last few months, we've seen more and more stories about WiFi in the sky, with the latest one being that Continental is about to start offering live TV and WiFi, similar to a few other airlines. Having just flown on Continental on an excruciatingly long trip to Europe and back, I'd say that having internet access and live TV would have made the flights much more enjoyable.

What's really interesting here, though, is that Continental is turning to competitor JetBlue to provide the service. We were among those surprised when JetBlue bought some available spectrum for air-to-ground internet access. Like many, we had suspected that it would go to a service provider that would provide a generic service to any airline that wanted it. But, with JetBlue winning the bid, it opened up questions about whether the company would hoard the opportunity as a differentiator for its own flights. Apparently not. If JetBlue can succeed in outfitting other airlines, it could represent a useful side-business for the company -- even if it diminishes some of JetBlue's own competitive advantage. Of course, given that a new study has suggested that WiFi-in-the-sky really isn't a huge selling point, perhaps this makes sense. Basically, people are saying that it's a nice-to-have rather than a need-to-have. In other words, it's unlikely to bring that much new business directly to JetBlue, but if JetBlue can make it available on lots of other airlines, people would be happy using it.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: airplanes, internet access, wifi
Companies: continental, jetblue


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    ZeTron, 29 Jan 2008 @ 8:18pm

    Just wait

    This may not be a huge selling point now. However, in a few years when internet access is even more ubiquitous and integrated into every aspect of our daily lives, owning this little slice of the limited golden spectrum will pay huge dividends. (Things that are not even dreamt of yet.) It's also possible the exponential growth of tech will create a demand for the spectrum JetBlue owns even sooner than can be currently imagined.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.