stories about: "aircell"
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Aug 19th 2008 9:29pm
Over the last year or so, a number of airlines have announced that they (finally! really!) will be installing internet access on airplanes for customers to use. Some have announce very aggressive rollouts, but Joe Brancatelli over at Portfolio has noticed that the rollouts all seem way behind schedule -- and quotes an exec at American Airlines (one of the airlines who promised an aggressive rollout) saying that there's clearly something wrong with the technology. Brancatelli tries to get Airgo, one of the main providers of WiFi-in-the-sky service to comment on the delays and: "Aircell isn't talking and refused repeated requests for an interview. Instead, its public-relations agency referred me back to its press releases, most of which said Aircell would be operating by now." He also notes that, despite public claims from various airlines that they'll aggressively wire up a bunch of airlines, those same airlines either haven't submitted an application to the FAA to wire up certain aircraft, or only just submitted them. In other words, despite public posturing, your WiFi connection in the sky may take a bit longer to arrive.
Thu, Aug 2nd 2007 12:28am
from the looking-through-the-clouds dept
One of the many modern tech myths seems to be the idea that in-flight internet access is guaranteed to be a success, even though this has proven not to be the case. The supposed demand for the service among travelers hasn't been enough to overcome the cost of the service, both for airlines and end users, and technical barriers, as highlighted by the failure of Boeing's much-hyped Connexion service. Now, however, one of the airlines that offered Connexion, Lufthansa, says it's working with T-Mobile to bring back in-flight internet access, while American has signed a deal with AirCell to offer its service to travelers on some planes. Lufthansa wants a system that supports WiFi, but also SMS and cellular data, though it won't allow cellular voice calls; American plans to test WiFi access on some transcontinental domestic flights before deciding whether to proceed. The American system will differ from Connexion in that it won't use satellites, but an air-to-ground radio system, explaining why it will only be available domestically. Hopefully this will translate into lower costs for consumers than the $30 per flight Connexion charged, otherwise the service will suffer the same fate. Lufthansa is reportedly looking at a satellite-based system for its long-haul flights, and unless it's figured out some way to slash the costs of such a system and pass the savings on to consumers, it's hard to see things working out any better this time around.