In-flight wifi comes to Europe
Friday 11 February 2011
Norwegian Airlines has become the first carrier to offer high-speed broadband on flights within Europe.
The low-cost Scandinavian airline said February 9 that its wireless internet access service, which can be used to log on to work or watch movies and television online, was now in service and will be rolled out across 40 aircraft by next year.
The service will initially be available to all passengers free of charge, although that's expected to change as the equipment is added to more aircraft.
At the moment, the service is reportedly working on only one plane but a further ten should be outfitted by summer of this year, with Norwegian installing the system on all of the new Boeing 737-800s it has ordered.
In-flight wifi has taken off in the US but has lagged behind in other parts of the world, in part due to the difficulty of establishing permanent connections when flying over large bodies of water.
While many of the US early adopters such as Virgin America and Delta still use a connection to the ground, most of the airlines that have recently announced in-flight wifi use satellite-based systems, allowing connectivity almost anywhere and on long-haul flights.
Norwegian's wifi service is provided by a company called Row 44, which uses a satellite system and is already in widespread use with US budget carrier Southwest.
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