Qantas And Virgin Will Have Inflight Internet By 2017

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Soon enough, you'll stay connected to your social media even from 40,000 feet as you travel on Australia's national carriers. A few months after Qantas promised free inflight internet via NBN satellite, Virgin has promised similarly zippy inflight Wi-Fi on both domestic and international flights from the middle of next year.

Announced at the launch of Virgin Australia's long-haul international business class cabin in Los Angeles, chief exec John Borghetti said that the coming service would be popular both with business passengers and leisure travellers alike.

Borghetti's comments paint a picture of useful, but not necessarily fast inflight Wi-Fi: "We are determined to give Virgin Australia customers the best possible combined connectivity and entertainment experience in the air.

"As well as providing access to email and social media, inflight wi-fi will improve the travel experience by providing guests with up-to-date information about connecting flights and their travel plans."

Social media, email and connecting flight info is all pretty lightweight, and the Virgin CEO did tell Australian Business Traveller that no Skype or FaceTime would be allowed on the service, making it pretty clear that you're not going to be allowed — or that it would even be feasible — to stream any kind of video like YouTube or Netflix on the connection.

It may not be free, though, giving Qantas a possible leg up — but Virgin may be exploring technologies like ad-supported browsing or time- or data-limited free use to make it more appealing. [Nvidia]

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