Posted on: 12 December 2013 by Mark Howells
JetBlue Airways (JetBlue) has become the first airline to use high-speed Ka-band satellite connectivity with the introduction of Fly-Fi, the carrier’s own in-flight Wi-Fi system.
JetBlue claims Fly-Fi Ka-band satellite connectivity is eight times faster than in-flight connections available on other U.S. airlines. During the beta period rollout, JetBlue will offer free basic web browsing on board, called Simply Surf, on Fly-Fi equipped aircraft through June 2014. In addition, JetBlue offers a live video streaming high-bandwidth plan, Fly-Fi Plus, at $9 per hour for applications like streaming movies or large downloads. JetBlue has partnered with its in-flight entertainment and connectivity subsidiary, LiveTV, as well as satellite provider, ViaSat, to bring Fly-Fi to life.
"Every traveller using Wi-Fi on JetBlue or any other carrier should test their connection with SpeedTest.net, and post their speeds using #WiFiFlightSpeed on social networks,” commented Marty St. George, JetBlue senior vice president marketing and commercial strategy. “Travellers should be able to see the speeds of all Wi-Fi systems in the sky and make an informed choice."
JetBlue has added the Fly-Fi offering to three aircraft. Five will have the service by year-end and more than 140 aircraft by year-end 2014. The airline’s fleet of Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft will receive Fly-Fi upgrades during 2014 at a rate of as many as 15 aircraft per month, while the Embraer 190 fleet will be completed in 2015.
In addition to launching Fly-Fi, JetBlue aims to allow taxi-in to taxi-out use of Fly-Fi by January 2014.