Why Internet Service on Your Next Flight Could Be Faster

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In-flight Internet service that promises record speeds has been cleared for takeoff.

The Federal Aviation Administration has given Gogo final approval to start testing its next generation of Internet connectivity technology for airplanes, Gogo announced this week.

The company expects its latest technology, called 2Ku, to be as fast as 70 megabits per second, which is more than 20 times faster than Gogo’s first-generation technology.

Gogo’s chief technology officer, Anand Chari, states in a news release that the company believes 2Ku “will be the best-performing technology for the global commercial aviation market, bar none”:

“This is a significant milestone for Gogo and a seminal event for in-flight Internet. … Clearing this regulatory hurdle brings us one step closer to enabling our airline partners and their passengers to enjoy the future of in-flight Internet.”

Seven airlines already have signed up for either a trial or fleet deployment. Gogo expects to launch 2Ku later this year and start “rapid installation” on 500 airplanes next year.

Gogo is a public company that describes itself as the leading provider of in-flight Internet service. Its competitors include ViaSat and Global Eagle Entertainment, according to The New York Times.

The cost to use Gogo’s Internet service while in flight currently ranges from $5 for a one-hour pass to $59.95 per month for unlimited service, according to Gogo’s website.

Michael Small, the chief executive of Gogo, tells The New York Times that the company has raised prices because demand exceeded capacity:

“We’re starting to have millions of users, so it’s getting more and more congested, and we have raised prices, which you typically do when you have more demand than you have supply. There’s nothing to apologize for. We have trouble finding a business in America that does anything differently.”

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