By Rob Enderle  |  Posted 2004-03-26 Print this article Print

$rich$ promise of Wi-Fi"> Boeings Connexion service can address the entertainment aspects by providing several TV channels and even a video on-demand service as part of the package, and they eventually intend to do just that. But, much as the fax machine significantly delayed the deployment of e-mail, in-flight TV may delay the deployment of Boeings Wi-Fi technology. While Boeing is providing pricing using a flat-rate model—it generally will cost between $10 for 30 minutes to $30 per international segment of 8 to 10 hours—with unlimited data, there are some other services that have launched in Asia that charge by the megabyte. One traveler figured he could probably buy a round-trip ticket and put his laptop on the plane by itself back to the office for a fraction of what it would take to e-mail back his PowerPoint slides. So if you do see Wi-Fi on a plane in Asia, make sure you understand the pricing or have borrowed someone elses credit card before using it. To get the more reasonable Boeing service, you will have to fly overseas. You wont see this on a U.S. carrier anytime soon. Initially, starting this spring, it will be on some Lufthansa, SAS, JAL, Singapore Airlines, ANA and China Airlines flights. It wont be on all of these carriers at once, and it wont be on all of the planes, which will probably make getting a network connection more of a hit-or-miss thing than it otherwise would be for a few years.
Of course, when this finally arrives we will also be able to make phone calls using voice over IP. It is kind of strange to realize that the path to reasonably priced phone calls from a plane may be through a wireless data network.
Until American and United and the other "traditional" U.S. carriers step up to the plate, youll likely find me on JetBlue as an ex-Platinum-level American Airlines passenger, watching old episodes of "Columbo" and wishing for Wi-Fi. Rob Enderle is the principal analyst for the Enderle Group, a company specializing in emerging personal technology. Check out eWEEKs Desktop & Notebook Center at for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing.

Rob Enderle Rob Enderle Enderle Group 389 Photinia Lane San Jose, CA 95127

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