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AirCell plans to charge no more than $10 per day for its WiFi service
AirCell is shopping around for potential customers of its in-flight WiFi service

WiFi will soon again be taking to American skies. Boeing had offered its Connexion WiFi service in the past, but customers just didn't warm up to its pricing ($10 for one hour of access, $15 for two hours and $27 unlimited access). Boeing announced in August that it would discontinue the service and began offering customers free WiFi access from October 2 until Connexion was finally shut down on December 31. 

It looks as though air travelers may once again have the option to use WiFi aboard American airliners thanks to renewed interest from airlines and communications providers. AirCell spent $31 billion USD in 2006 for a portion of the radio spectrum for cell phone and Internet use.

AirCell also notes that the equipment necessary for outfitting an existing airliner will only add 100 pounds and can be installed overnight by airline crews. The downside, however, is that equipment costs are likely to be around $100,000 USD per plane.

Luckily for air passengers who choose to use AirCell's service, connection speeds and WiFi performance will be similar to existing ground-based systems and discounts will be offered to customers of T-Mobile, iPass and Boingo services. AirCell is also trying to avoid the pricing problems that Boeing ran into with its Connexion service -- it will charge no more than $10 per day to passengers for unlimited service.

AirCell's WiFi service will include Internet, email, VPN, SMS and IM access. The service will be available coast to coast and will offer DSL-like speeds and AirCell will provide email receipts for business expense usage.

While WiFi may be a viable option to air passengers in the near future, don't bet on using cell phones in the air anytime soon. Complaints from air passengers along with FCC regulations have so far kept that idea at bay. And for those of you thinking to use AirCell's WiFi connection to make VoIP calls while in the air, guess again. The company says it will block VoIP services such as Skype through WiFi connections.

Boeing recently nixed its idea to provide wireless networking for its 787 Dreamliner. The wireless networking equipment that it planned to use would have added 200 pounds to the weight of the aircraft. The company instead decided to use wired networking which saves roughly 150 pounds. The company was also worried about regulatory issues when using wireless technology in certain countries.

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Much better
By swtethan on 4/4/2007 11:00:01 AM , Rating: 2
I think the price really drove people away. now when I fly for more than 4 hours, I will definately pay $10 to keep me entertained online (neffing on ATOT of course).

RE: Much better
By TomZ on 4/4/2007 12:27:01 PM , Rating: 2
I agree - the pricing of the old offering would have put me off. $10 is much more reasonable.

Now if I could just get some power to keep the laptop batteries charged...

RE: Much better
By atomicacid55 on 4/4/2007 1:11:12 PM , Rating: 1
Unless you have business to do, why would you pay $10? Are you that desperate for ATOT? Sure, I nef, but ok... If you have to be plugged in either way, I'd rather just load up a stack of movies or recorded TV shows and start watching away. Why pay? The minute you land, you can go get a free connection somewhere else to nef away.

RE: Much better
By theapparition on 4/4/2007 3:13:19 PM , Rating: 2
Wow........I just had to look up what ATOT and neffing was. I'm getting old.

RE: Much better
By crazzyeddie on 4/4/2007 1:38:08 PM , Rating: 2
I also agree. Sometimes I don't have any media that I really want to watch on my computer, so why not just pay $10 for all-you-can-watch YouTube or online TV instead of having to buy a new DVD or download something from iTunes?

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