Wired writes that airplane-Fi is bursting out all over: I'll quibble with the writer's assertion that inflight Internet has been promised "for at least four years now." It wasn't promised. It was delivered with Boeing's Connexion, which turned out to be too expensive, too heavy, too slow (relatively), and timed wrong for the industry. The latest wave hasn't been promised for very long, unless you count OnAir, which was promising mobile telephony and texting for about four years, but has been hung out to dry by its satellite partner, Inmarsat, which has suffered huge delays in launching its birds for service.
The writer says that air-to-ground service is like Wi-Fi in the sky, but it's using cellular data standards, and so it's much more like mobile broadband in the sky. He also writes that there's 3 Mbps, which is the combined up-and-down estimated throughput of AirCell, the only firm that can operate such service in the U.S. for commercial flights. The next graf mentions that satellite-based Internet access is coupled with, uh, 802.11b (yes, B) access points. I think that's an error, innit?
And the analysis of JetBlue's move is incorrect. The purchase of Verizon's Airfone network is about positioning equipment, not using out-of-date gear that can't be employed for phone calls on commercial airliners.
I'd suggest a more appropriate metaphor be used than the one in this sentence: "[Lufthansa] hopes the experience is more fruitful than its ill-fated 2004 deal with Boeing's Connexion service, which crashed and burned when Boeing shut it down two years later." Beyond the distasteful reference, Connexion was shut down in an orderly fashion, and Lufthansa was one carrier that loved it, and tried to get it to stay in operation, and, failing that, to build a consortium to revive it.
The article finishes with a set of incorrect conclusions:
"There hasn't been much news about how airlines plan to charge for these services." In fact, we know pretty much that it will cost roughly $6 an hour, $10 for a 3-hour flight or less, and $13 for a flight longer than 3 hours. That's from Aircell in various statements, and it appears to be roughly the charges expected from its competitors in the US. In Europe, mobile calls and texting prices are also known: about US$2.50 per minute for calls, and something like 25 to 50 cents for text messages, not much more than the egregious ground pricing.
"If the industry's cash crunch gets much worse, in-flight broadband might be mothballed before it even gets off the ground." It's unclear what part of the expense the airlines are bearing. In my discussions with firms over the last five years, it's clear to me that this round involves the providers bearing more of the cost--and hence the lower installation cost involved--but also retaining more of the revenue.
Wi-Fi a-go-go onboard buses: The New York Daily News checks in on the trend to put Internet access via Wi-Fi on board East Coast buses. The article notes that Greyhound's new sidewalk-pickup BoltBus service among corridor cities has provoked the long-running Chinatown buses to bolt on Wi-Fi as well. The Chinatown Bus Association says here that their bus tickets are cheaper and thus more competitive--but one of their members has already added Wi-Fi, and others are considering it. MegaBus also serves the coast and has Internet access, as well as DC2NY. The biggest problem, though? Passengers demand AC outlets, and only BoltBus has them on every bus. LimoLiner (New York to Boston) isn't mentioned here, but is one of the earliest firms I'm aware of with on-board Internet, starting in 2004, and they also have power to every seat.