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Larry Magid: In-Flight Wi-Fi Getting Faster

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An airplane lands at nightfall. (CBS)

An airplane lands at nightfall. (CBS)

LarryMagid01-228 Larry Magid
Larry Magid is a technology journalist and an Internet safe...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — There is new hope for frequent fliers who complain about slow Wi-Fi connections. In-flight wireless internet provider Gogo said it will start offering satellite connections, which will significantly boost streaming speeds.

But is the service worth it? I’m happy about it, but it’s very much a First-World problem to complain that the internet on your plane isn’t as fast as you want it to be. Flying at 600 miles an hour, the fact that it works at all is a miracle.

The service has been slow though. I’m at a point where I can’t even use Gmail and hit send without the process taking 30 seconds and sometimes even longer.

The new connection should speed things up considerably. What’s interesting is this will use both the satellite connection and ground-based systems.

Currently Gogo is the Wi-Fi provider for Virgin, Delta and others. With the old internet system, the signal travels up to the plane from the ground-based system and then back down at a fairly slow pace.

With the new system, downloads such as streaming movies will be coming from the satellite, which is much faster. When you upload or type in a command, it will use the ground-based system. That should be fine, because most of the time we are receiving data.

If you’re a business traveler stuck on a plane for six hours or so, I think spending $10 or $12 for the new service is worth it.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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