|WiFi to take flight|
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 12:35
The long-awaited advent of Internet in the sky is imminent, with the first WiFi-enabled flight in SA set to take off in just over two weeks.
Broadband enabler WirelessG will launch its G-Connect In-flight WiFi service, “providing broadband connectivity from 30 000 feet” next month. The service, enabled in partnership with Vodacom via satellite, will be inaugurated on Johannesburg-based low-cost airline Mango on 8 May.
WirelessG was given the green light for in-flight WiFi services on local aircraft by the Civil Aviation Authority in October last year, following a three-year process of negotiations, assessment and certification formalities. At the time of approval, WirelessG CEO Carel van der Merwe said the development was “the missing link in telecommunications”.
The in-flight WiFi service means jetsetters will have access to Internet connectivity, e-mail, SMS services, chat and social networking, office connection via a virtual private network and online shopping.
Research conducted during the approval process indicated that 67% of in-flight WiFi users will access a combination of business and social sites, with Facebook dominating Web surfing with 61% and Twitter 22% of traffic. Only 6% of travellers surveyed said they would take an all-work-and-no-play approach.
While the price is yet to be announced, WirelessG says the idea is not to charge per MB, but rather to provide uncapped access for the duration of the flight on a fixed fee basis.
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