Boeing to enable in-flight Wi-Fi and cell phone connectivity on new 747s and 777s

Aircraft manufacturer Boeing announced that by the end of 2013 it will be installing advanced communications connectivity systems on its 747-8 and 777 jet airliners during production.

The planned systems can be used to enable in-flight cell phone use, Wi-Fi connectivity for passengers, Internet access using in-flight entertainment and live television broadcasts.

Boeing is also evaluating additional connectivity for its 737 model, which already includes wiring provisions for connectivity systems.

In addition, the 787 is expected to include a full set of connectivity offerings as part of its standard catalog by the end of this year. That aircraft model currently offers post-delivery retrofit of systems that provide in-flight use of personal cell phones and Wi-Fi connectivity for passengers.

Wireless media streaming is expected to be available on all new Boeing airplanes in 2014.

"Passengers want the option of staying connected to e-mail and the Internet and other online offerings when flying. We've looked across the industry and are partnering with several connectivity system providers across our family of airplanes," said Mike Sinnett, senior chief engineer of airplane systems for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

The prime connectivity systems currently in development at Boeing are the Panasonic Global Communication Suite and Thales TopConnect system.

For more:
- see this Boeing release

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Singapore Airlines launches ambitious $50M in-flight Internet program
U.S. flyers want in-flight Internet service
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