In-flight Internet over the Atlantic gets approval

By Rahul Raja, January 8 2011
In-flight Internet over the Atlantic gets approval

In-flight broadband Internet is still not as common-place in Australia as it is in the U.S., but it seems that coverage is expanding following an announcement today from Row 44, a provider of in-flight broadband connectivity, that it had received approval to operate its service over the Atlantic Ocean.

This means that customers could soon be able to access in-flight Internet on services from Europe to the U.S. seamlessly, provided that they are on an airline that uses Row 44’s satellite-based in-flight broadband system.

Currently, Row 44 is the only company that has been granted a license from America’s Federal Communications Commission to operate the service over the Atlantic Ocean. The system itself is authorised for operation in over 100 countries, on four continents. The company's current network coverage includes service over the US, Mexico and Canada, and European coverage is expected to arrive sometime later this year.

At the moment, Row 44’s first U.S. customer is domestic carrier Southwest Airlines, but we have a feeling that more international carriers will be taking notice of the service now that it can offer such a competitive advantage to business travellers.

So when will we see the rollout of this service to Australia? Unfortunately, all indicators suggest that seamless in-flight Internet within Australia is still some time away - however Row 44 has hinted at plans to expand into Asia eventually, specifically China, which could give business travellers even more seamless in-flight connectivity.

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