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Wi-Fi on some international flights is about to get much better
November 26, 2017, 4:19 pm

Several major international airlines have announced plans to significantly improve Wi-Fi connectivity on their flights. First, Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airlines and its subsidiary, Cathay Dragon, announced the selection of Gogo’s satellite-based 2Ku inflight connectivity for its Airbus A330 and Boeing 777 aircraft. The service is expected to go live mid-2018.

Meanwhile, Emirates Airline said it would be partnering with Thales to install satellite broadband Wi-Fi with speeds of up to 50Mbps on its Boeing 777X fleet. That would be an order of magnitude faster than Wi-Fi that is available in most flights today.

Domestic carriers in the US have made their own in-roads. JetBlue announced in January that it had completed its rollout of Fly-Fi, its free high-speed internet service, to its entire fleet of planes. And in October, Delta Air Lines began offering free access to in-flight internet for customers to access iMessage, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger on any flight with Gogo Wi-Fi.

But since most in-flight Wi-Fi speeds cannot support high bandwidth activities like video streaming or photo sharing, third parties like Netflix are looking to get in the mix. Starting next year, the streaming giant said it would start partnering with airlines to provide them with its mobile technology.

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