Thursday, October 7, 2010

JetBlue Sets Mid-2012 for In-Flight Internet

JetBlue Sets Mid-2012 for In-Flight Internet

JetBlue has signed a memo with ViaSat for next-generation satellite-backed Internet service for its current 160-aircraft fleet: JetBlue is opting for Ka-band satellite rather than ground-to-air (Aircell) or Ku-band (Row 44, Panasonic). As I understand it, the Ka-band satellites, which use higher frequencies, are designed for greater capacity, but that may be a matter of marketing rather than technology.

There are a few things that are odd about this deal. First, it's a memo, not a contract, which means this isn't a done deal, it's just an intended deal. Second, mid-2012 is a long way away; this is vapor service.

Third, JetBlue owns a sliver of valuable ground-to-air spectrum (1 MHz) that it acquired at the same auction at which Aircell bought the 3 MHz it uses for Gogo Inflight Internet. JetBlue's LiveTV division technically bought the spectrum, and so far it hasn't done anything interesting with it (at least in public).

I understand the site at which this article may be found is called FlightGlobal, but it's peculiar to not mention Aircell or Gogo, given that Aircell has equipped over 1,000 aircraft that fly over the US with Internet service, with about 1,000 more committed by the end of 2011.

Alaska Airlines Has Internet Service in Half Its says Ashley was ‘crazy’ to cheat on Cheryl Cole