Southwest Airlines will test wireless Internet access via satellite on domestic flights in the second quarter of this year, and also could test IP-based television.
Customers would bring their own Wi-Fi devices and could access e-mail, the Web, and virtual private networks, although it’s likely that Southwest and most other U.S. airlines will restrict content such as VoIP and adult entertainment.
The technology partner, Row 44, is also working with Alaska Airlines. They compete against Aircell, which has American Airlines and Virgin America as customers. Row 44’s system brings 30 Mbps to every airplane, President Greg Fialcowitz said.
Trials in Europe are expected in the third quarter, and trials over the North Atlantic will occur later this year. Regarding IPTV, there will probably be a small number of channels included in the initial tests, but that’s not a primary focus, Fialcowitz said.
Southwest’s test will involve four planes. Aircell this week announced a similar test with American, which “plans to install and test the technology in 2008 on all 15 of its Boeing 767-200 aircraft,” the company said.
Filed Under: Infrastructure