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W. David Gardner
November 19, 2008
1 Min Read
It's no secret that many airlines are offering entertainment and communications access in ground-to-air connections, but that approach will be reversed Saturday when Virgin America streams video from its planes to a Nov. 22 YouTube Live event.
The carrier's Wi-Fi-enabled plane will fly 35,000 feet above the YouTube event in San Francisco. A segment of YouTube Live will feature entertainment beamed from the circling Virgin America plane to the main event below. The demonstration will launch the airline's beta test of its Gogo in-flight Internet service, which is powered by Aircell's in-flight Wi-Fi hotspot technology. "Wi-Fi at 35,000 feet will be game changing for the YouTube community," said Chris Di Cesare, head of marketing for YouTube, in a statement. Virgin America plans to offer the Gogo Wi-Fi service across its entire fleet by the second quarter of 2009. In the Nov. 22 event, a Wi-Fi lounge in the plane will be equipped with HP notebooks. Several personalities popular with YouTube users will help produce video streams for transmission below to the YouTube Live event, which is billed as "part concert, part variety show, and part party." Aircell has been outfitting several airlines with its Gogo Wi-Fi technology, which turns passenger cabins into wireless hotspots. The service enables passengers to surf the Web, access e-mail and instant message accounts, as well as access corporate networks. The service, however, does not permit passengers to make voice calls. Aircell's networking platform is provided by ZTE, which has located EV-DO base stations and IP switching platform facilities across the United States. Qualcomm, the developer of the EV-DO service, supplies aircraft-mounted modems for the airborne service.
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