Any traveling exec knows that a long flight without Internet service can be not just wasted time. Being out of touch from colleagues and clients can be perilous in these days of 24/7 connectivity and a struggling economy.
Enter in-flight WiFi, a service designed to keep travelers linked to their operations while hurtling through the skies toward their destination.
Problem for users: The service is pricey and slow, not exactly a bargain.
But this week, travelers got some good news on the flying WiFi front. Discount airline Jet Blue is planning to add the service to its fleet of aircraft and routes, and for the initial rollout, the service will be free.
We’re assuming they’re banking on it also being better, so that if they eventually charge for the service, it’ll be worth the price.
The problems of delivering WiFi service to a flying metal container moving at jet speed is a challenge both technically and fiscally. There are only a few network providers who can manage this complicated trick and their costs are, well, astronomical.
Thus, the exorbitant charges for in-flight WiFi.
But Jet Blue will be introducing another provider of the service and this will create the kind of competition that (we hope) will bring prices down.
For a good explanation of the physics behind this complex technological feat, there’s a good explanation at Gigacom. In the meantime, organizations that are looking to boost workers’ in-flight productivity and lower their costs for it, Jet Blue may be a source of savings.
Tags: in-flight WiFi