In-flight wifi to boom - and get cheaper
Thursday 08 July 2010
A new report has suggested that passenger usage of in-flight wifi in the US is skyrocketing, with 2,000 planes expected to be equipped with the technology by the end of this year.
Research from analytics firm In-Stat suggests that customers will spend some $95 million (€75.7 million) on in-flight wifi this year, a huge leap from under $7 million (€5.5 million) spent in 2009.
The research also suggests that consumers will have to pay less for their in-flight internet, with connect fees projected to decline by almost a quarter between now and 2014.
Currently, fees in the United States range from $5 (€4.07) for 90 minutes connectivity to bundled packages of $35 (€28) per month for unlimited use.
By 2012, In-Stat predicts that 76 million connections will be made in the sky.
More and more US airlines are fitting their aircraft with connectivity, with analysts estimating that roughly a third of US planes are now equipped with wifi.
However, whilst US passengers can enjoy functionality such as video streaming at broadband speeds, the technology has been slower to take off on board international carriers, where additional challenges are posed by long-haul travel, often across large bodies of water.
Whilst Virgin America became the first US carrier to fully equip its fleet with wifi in 2009, international carriers Emirates, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Oman Air are all still working on rolling out connectivity to their aircraft.
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