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In-flight Wi-Fi provider Gogo to introduce faster service

By Terry Gardner

10:00 AM EDT, September 16, 2013

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Here’s good news for in-flight Wi-Fi users: Wi-Fi provider Gogo will have a new connectivity that should make airplane wireless less like being stuck in stop-and-go traffic on the 405 and more like what we're accustomed to on the ground.

Gogo, the major provider of in-flight Wi-Fi for U.S. carriers, says its next generation of Wi-Fi blends its current system, which connects with cellular towers on the ground, with satellite technology. Data connection rates are expected to increase as much as twentyfold, said Steve Nolan, a Gogo spokesman.

The new system will be useful for email, gaming and streaming short video clips, but an airline’s onboard entertainment system is a better way to see movies or watch TV shows, said Anand Chari, Gogo’s chief technology officer.

Gogo expects to roll out the speedier Wi-Fi in the second half of 2014 after approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Virgin America, which offers Gogo Wi-Fi on all its aircraft, will be the first to launch the upgraded service.  Neither Gogo nor Virgin could say how many planes would have the newer system.

Pricing plans have not been announced.

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