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September 22, 2010

Wi-Fli JetBlue? 'Cause It's Gonna Get In-Flight Broadband

By Juliana Kenny, TMCnet Web Editor

JetBlue has certainly waited long enough to implement in-flight Wi-Fi – a service its competitors have long been touting. But, using a different technological approach to Wi-Fi in its cabins may boost the airline’s popularity among those that offer the service.

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By getting its bandwidth from satellites instead of ground-operating systems, not only will JetBlue’s in-flight Wi-Fi possibly be faster and less problematic, it will set the stage for future Wi-Fi developments as in-flight Internet access becomes more expected from consumers.  

Vowing to offer the “best in-flight broadband” service, JetBlue has struck a deal with ViaSat (News - Alert) which will bring high-speed satellite-based in-flight connectivity to the airline giant. JetBlue’s live television supplier, LiveTV will integrate with ViaSat broadband so that the airline will quickly be able to obtain certification from the Federal Aviation Administration.

JetBlue’s CEO, Dave Barger, noted, “This system will be designed for the 21st century, not just for today's personal connectivity needs, but with the bandwidth to expand to meet tomorrow's needs as well.” Barger went on to comment on the company’s choice of partner in this endeavor, remarking that “we elected to partner with ViaSat to create broadband functionality worthy of today's interactive personal technology needs.”

The only downer about this piece of exciting news is that JetBlue will not be able to begin to install the technology for in-flight Wi-Fi until 2012. Certain limitations in terms of configuration differences and certification requirements will delay the installation of the software for almost two years. But, from the sound of it, the wait will be worth it.

Juliana Kenny graduated from the University of Connecticut with a double degree in English and French. After managing a small company for two years, she joined TMC (News - Alert) as a Web Editor for TMCnet. Juliana currently focuses on the call center and CRM industries, but she also writes about cloud telephony and network gear including softswitches.

Edited by Juliana Kenny