Glenn Fleishman writes "Panasonic's avionics division may relaunch Connexion by Boeing by using similar technology that's better, cheaper, and lighter. The company said today that they were looking to get airlines to commit to 500 planes within 60 days, and already had 150 aircraft committed. They'd still use Ku band, but have a cheaper and smaller set of leases. Connexion had at least $120m in yearly fixed expenses, a large part of which was transponder licenses. The new service would provide 12 Mbps down and 3 Mbps (versus Connexion's 5 Mbps/1 Mbps), and be priced conceivably as low as $10 per session wholesale, with airlines choosing to not mark up rates. With that higher rate, even with latency, in-flight VoIP seems more achievable at a reasonable cost, although some airlines may choose to block VoIP services. I reported for The Economist magazine last week about mobile phones in flight (services coming in Europe in 2007). Three U.S. airlines told me that American passengers have very low interest or negative interest in allowing any voice (cell or otherwise) during flights. Europeans, with shorter flights and lower expectations of privacy perhaps, are more open to it." We covered the story back when Boeing decided to scrap Connexion.
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