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JetBlue plans to offer fast onboard Wi-Fi free of charge

March 24, 2013|By Hugo Martin

Most major airlines offer wireless Internet access on some or all of their aircraft.

But now airlines are battling over which has the fastest Wi-Fi at 35,000 feet in the air.

New York-based JetBlue Airways announced last week that later this year, it plans to offer its passengers a satellite-based Wi-Fi service that is “significantly faster” than other onboard Wi-Fi.

Airline executives showed investors a demonstration last week that suggested its new Internet service, powered by Excede, was more than twice as fast as three Wi-Fi competitors'.

Robin Hayes, the airline’s chief commercial officer, said JetBlue may offer the service free for most passengers but charge those who want to stream movies and other such entertainment.

“We are going to find a way, if we can, of keeping it free for the long term, and we have some ideas of trying to make that happen,” he said.

One idea, Hayes said, is to require passengers join JetBlue’s frequent flier program to use the Wi-Fi.

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