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September 18, 2012

JetBlue Looking to Offer Free Wi-Fi on Flights in 2013

By Oliver VanDervoort, Contributing Writer

Wi-Fi appears to be the next frontier when it comes to Internet access and local businesses. Customers always want to get online wherever they are, and if they don’t have to use cellular networks to do it, all the better. 

More and more companies are finding a way to get free Wi-Fi out to their customers as a rather cheap way of reeling them in. It should come as no surprise, then, that JetBlue is one of the first airline companies to roll out free Wi-Fi on its flights.

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JetBlue has long considered itself a bit of a trend setter when it comes to offering different features on its flights. The company was one of the first to offer streaming live television and movies on demand. 

While it’s not the first airline to offer Wi-Fi service in the air, it is one of the very few who seem to be offering the service for free.

An internal memo recently leaked says JetBlue’s wireless networks onboard their planes will be available early in 2013. The company seems to understand that free Wi-Fi can be a big-time draw for customers when trying to choose which company to use.

"Customers, especially those traveling for business, with everything else being equal, will choose the airline that offers connectivity, even if the service is spotty or expensive," the memo stated.

JetBlue has looked at the options of Wi-Fi providers, and while GoBo is more well-known in this particular sector, the company has instead decided to go with ViaSat (News - Alert). There have been some demonstrations where ViaSat has been more dependable and faster when it comes to dealing with public Wi-Fi. 

One test reported back speeds that were able to load 10 pages in about 1.18 minutes. 

Of course there’s no such thing as a free lunch, or free Wi-Fi. JetBlue says it will offer the free wireless Internet service for the first 30 planes that are outfitted.

After those 30 planes, it appears there will be an as yet undisclosed charge. 

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.




Edited by Braden Becker