Airlines Plan To Roll Out In-Flight Broadband Service

Boeing Connexion pilot with British Airways is successful, setting the stage for a formal rollout.
British Airways says it has successfully completed a three-month test of an in-flight broadband Internet service built by Boeing Co.

Through the system, Boeing Connexion, passengers can access their Web and E-mail accounts using their own laptops or PDAs. Connexion also gives users access to live digital television.

British Airways tested Connexion for three months beginning Feb. 20 on flights from New York to London and plans to formally roll out the service in the first quarter of next year. Boeing says Lufthansa, Japan Airlines, and SAS will also introduce the service early next year.

Aircraft that offer Connexion will serve as flying data centers, carrying a mix of on-board servers, routers, and phased array antennas that will communicate with ground centers via satellite. The system won't be limited to aircraft manufactured by Boeing, as it can be installed on virtually any commercial or corporate jet.

Passengers must be Boeing Connexion subscribers to access the system. Pricing was not immediately available.

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