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Coming Soon to Canada: In-Flight Wi-Fi

Gogo, the outfit that provides the bulk of in-flight Wi-Fi service for North American airlines, has cut a deal to expand into Canada. The Gogo technology relies on ground-based transceivers, similar to cell phone towers, and the new deal, which will go live sometime in 2013, allows Gogo to start building Canadian towers.

Until now, Gogo reception has been available only in those small parts of Canada that are within range of towers in the U.S., and the only Canadian user, Air Canada, has the service only on planes that fly on a few trans-border routes. But Alaska, American, Delta, United, and US Airways—all of which fly to Canada—already use Gogo on at least some planes, and their passengers will be able to access the new Canadian service directly.

According to reports, Air Canada has not committed to Gogo beyond its current arrangement, and WestJet hasn’t made any Wi-Fi commitment, so there’s some possibility that either or both will opt for a satellite-based system instead. Gogo has recognized the demand for Wi-Fi overseas, however, and is adopting its system for both satellite and ground-based technology.

So far, Gogo’s pricing is uniform regardless of airline. You pay anything from $12.70 for a 24-hour pass to $39.95 for unlimited use.

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