On Saturday Virgin America launched its Gogo in-flight wi-fi service, showing it off by filing the press release from 35,000 feet, and with the first ever "air-to-ground" video stream to YouTube Live
, YouTube's first official real-world user event.
The "fleet" will consist of one wi-fi enabled plane to start, with Virgin saying fleet-wide rollout will be achieved by Q2 2009.
In their press release
, Virgin America President and CEO David Cush said:
"As San Francisco's only hometown airline, we couldn't do less than offer Wi-Fi as a standard option for our tech-savvy guests. With power outlets at every seat, Gogo will turn our planes into Wi-Fi hotspots and home offices in the air. We're proud to team up with two innovative companies -- Aircell and YouTube -- to launch this service with the latest technology, a sense of humor, and of course, an inflight party."
Facts about the service:
- No content filtering. Some other airlines have decided to filter content to ensure no porn or other objectionable material is viewing over your neighbor's shoulder
- EV-DO Rev. A connection, 3.6Mbps down / 1.8Mbps up.
- 802.11a/b/g in the plane. But naturally, just as with free wi-fi in a coffee shop, no encryption. Hopefully you know what cautions you should take in that regard.
- Voice and video chat will be blocked, though not on the "beta" flight
- Gogo follows the soon-to-be-familiar across ISPs traffic shaper that monitors for overzealous users. Yep, use too much bandwidth and you get throttled.
Wow, even in the friendly skies you can't use as much bandwidth as you want (yes, yes, we know that's a different airline