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FREEDOM: Wireless above the clouds with Boeing's Connexion service
Posted by Arne Hess - on Thursday, 25.03.04 - 18:23:00 CET under 01 - General News - Viewed 10704x
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Today, Boeing announced in Seattle the pricing for its Connexion High-Speed In-Flight Internet Service.

Connexion by Boeing, a business unit of The Boeing Company, today announced pricing details for its high-speed in-flight Internet service scheduled to become commercially available this spring.
Connexion by Boeing has created a model that enables airline passengers to affordably extend their on-the-ground connectivity experience. The result is more choices for how to use their time in the air using either of two initial pricing plans, which will vary depending on flight length:

Flat Rate Pricing Option:

  • Unlimited access to the Internet: $29.95 for long-haul flights (more than six hours)
  • Unlimited access to the Internet: $19.95 for medium-haul flights (between three and six hours)
  • Unlimited access to the Internet: $14.95 for flights less than three hours

Metered Pricing Option:

  • 30-minute starter package: $9.95 with rates of $0.25 per minute thereafter.

The pricing is based on extensive customer research conducted individually and in conjunction with leading airlines in Europe, Asia and the U.S. and is intended to be affordable for all travelers seeking secure, reliable access to the people and information that are important to them. Connexion by Boeing, which provides a broadband connection to the aircraft, is the only Internet service that offers users a high-speed, real-time experience comparable to the one they currently enjoy at the office or at home, including unrestricted virtual private network (VPN) access to personal and work-related e-mail accounts and intranets, as well as entertainment applications and an in-flight portal for customer service and support.

"This is truly about increasing the connectivity choices for airlines and their passengers," explains Connexion by Boeing Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Sales David Friedman. "Pricing puts the final puzzle piece in place for a successful commercial launch that will in turn revolutionize the way people work, communicate and entertain themselves while mobile, and really expands the choices they have for doing so."

"Our research shows that 38 percent of frequent travelers are willing to pay at least $25 per flight for full, high-speed access to the Internet and their corporate network," said Forrester Research analyst Henry Harteveldt." In-flight broadband Internet access is a highly desirable amenity, especially among frequent business and leisure airline travelers. Airlines that don't offer passengers this kind of service risk losing a key segment of their customer base to carriers that do."

Lufthansa will be the first airline to launch the Connexion by Boeing service on commercial flights originating from Germany this spring. Connexion by Boeing also has service agreements with several of the world's leading passenger airlines including Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS), Japan Airlines and ANA. Singapore Airlines and China Airlines also have expressed their intent to install the service in subsequent months.

Unlike narrowband services in the market today, the Connexion by Boeing service eliminates unexpected surprises by ensuring that business and leisure travelers won't have to change their terrestrial habits, count minutes or compute their kilobytes to gain access to the Internet and e-mail applications. Connexion by Boeing is also working directly with third-party mobile service providers to further simplify the customer experience and offer them the opportunity to have high-speed Internet access in planes through their home provider. As those agreements solidify, passengers will be able to log onto the Connexion by Boeing service using the same ID and password they might use in the home or office and have streamlined billing and customer support.

"We've met several significant industry and technology milestones to get to this point including: gaining international regulatory approvals; establishing an extensive global ground and satellite network; conducting successful service trials and securing airline commitments; and achieved unparalleled technology developments," added Friedman. "We look forward to working with our airline partners to make true in-flight Internet access an affordable reality."

Well, no word about how to access it but I expect it's based on the tests, Lufthansa ran last year which means you can use your own equipment like your Notebook or Pocket PC. But I truly hope, they will also use Wi-Fi within their aircrafts instead of LAN cables - which would make the whole stuff more convenient! :-)
And another hope I have - even if I don't believe into it - is that SAS will already provide Connexion next month, if I fly to the Microsoft MVP summit... ;-)

Cheers ~ Arne

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Posted by Andreas Tsouchlaris on 28.03.04 - 18:13:45

Exactly one year ago, on the 23rd of March 2003, I was on the flight from Frankfurt to Washington DC. One of the famous test flights for the Connexion system. They were sying that it would be free (for testing reasons) till mid-April 2003 and then it would probably cost around €30 per flight. They were right about the price but it took them another year to commercialise it!

They told us that we would have a Wifi connection (even on Economy class) but they had a technical problem and they only had a UTP connection in SOME Business and First class seats. After a lot of fight for these seats, I finally got one.

Actually there was a wifi access point, its SSID was flynet, the signal quality was 92-100% and the signal strength 67-77%.

Broadband speed test gave me 133 kbits and the total response was very very good! I even worked with FTP and telnet without any problems.

During the return flight the system was unavailable. I think that they had huge problems to keep them a whole year from actual use.

I'll have more details for you, Arne, at the summit.

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