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Spotlight: Connexion by Boeing Flies High In Asia

By | May 3, 2004

      Connexion by Boeing is finding strong interest in its proposed in-flight broadband service in Asia.

      The company was forced to look elsewhere for partners when major U.S. airlines reversed course about plans to invest in and deploy the service following the financial fallout caused by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The growing momentum was exhibited last week when the company announced a new airline partner that would provide the service as well as a technical partner to improve its value.

      Korean Air became the latest carrier to confirm plans to offer Connexion by Boeing’s high-speed Internet service. The deal calls for the first installation of the Connexion by Boeing mobile service on the carrier’s long-haul fleet of 747-400s and 777ERs in early 2005, with service scheduled to begin shortly thereafter.

      “Korea has the highest broadband penetration rate in the world,” said Scott Carson, Connexion by Boeing’s president. “So the high-speed connectivity that Korean Air passengers have in their homes and offices can now be extended to their in-flight travel experience, providing them with affordable choices for how to spend their time in the cabin.”

      Representatives from Korean Air and Connexion by Boeing are in the process of defining the levels of service that will be offered to the airline’s passengers as well as a schedule for the installation of the service on the airline’s aircraft. Korean Air also is determining the initial passenger routes for the service.

      Connexion by Boeing also forged an alliance last week with NTT DoCoMo [DCM], Japan’s leading mobile communications company. Officials from the two companies inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to negotiate an associate service provider agreement that would make the Connexion by Boeing Internet service available to NTT DoCoMo’s mZone wireless LAN service users. Based on the terms of the agreement, availability is expected to begin late this summer.

      Connexion by Boeing and NTT DoCoMo also will explore ways to link their respective networks. NTT DoCoMo’s mZone users who fly on aircraft equipped with Connexion by Boeing service would be able to access the Internet by entering their Mzone account user identification and passwords.

      — Paul Dykewicz

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