In-flight Internet access on its way?

By Derek Sooman on
Avid road warriors and other telecommuters will be pleased to hear that moves are afoot to auction off frequencies for in-flight Internet service. Verizon Airfone and several other companies are due to enter bids for the two licenses available. The companies involved have developed a range of differing technologies that effectively create wireless networks on planes. The winning bidders would still have to convince American carriers to install their equipment, and we are no closer to getting mobile phone access on planes as yet.

"Airlines will have to be careful how they roll it out," said Jonathan Schildkraut, a telecommunications analyst at Jefferies & Co. While "spending $10 for a broadband connection is a no-brainer" for business travelers, he said, "I don't trust people to observe the laws of propriety" if they are allowed to make a phone call on a plane, even on a headset connected to a laptop.

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