In-flight Internet set to come of age

Posted on May 17, 2012


Accessing the Internet in the air is nothing new, far from it in fact. It has been with us for over a decade. However, there are signs that it could finally become mainstream, allowing surfing whilst flying to be as commonplace as in-flight movies.

It is not the first time on-board Internet has been lauded – back at the turn of the century Boeing were investing heavily in the tech, which in turn had many admirers. However, with the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the global slump, it has largely not been picked up by the airlines.

Things have changed over recent years, with many carriers now offering Wi-Fi on board. In the US in particular, 85% of all American flights offer the service.

However, being costly and slow, it has largely been ignored. It is also limited to flight paths overland only, relying as it does on existing mobile masts for signal bouncing.

With business professionals and the odd SEO content writer needing connectivity at all times however, this could soon change.

A recent tie-up between US-based aviation supplier Honeywell and the UK-based satellite telecoms company Inmarsat could kick start things dramatically.

From 2013, the British company will put three satellites into orbit under their project Global Xpress. At the same time, the American firm will develop and install the necessary hardware.

This should provide a fully global online experience and offer robust connectivity. Cheaper prices should swiftly follow, though this factor will be discretionary.

Getting online on board is just years away then and many will be excited. However, there will also be those travellers likely to lament the ability a flight offered to get away from it all.

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