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

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  1. identicon
    Alfred E. Neuman, 30 Jan 2008 @ 5:08am


    Gotta have something to do while waiting on the tarmac.

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