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JetBlue Now Has Free In-Flight Wi-Fi

JetBlue now offers free Wi-Fi on some of its planes. Today, the airline launched its high-speed in-flight Wi-Fi program, branded Fly-Fi. And for the time being, it’s complimentary.

Basic Internet connectivity, called Simply Surf, is free on JetBlue planes equipped with Wi-Fi for the duration of the program’s beta period, through June 2014. The higher-bandwidth connection, Fly-Fi Plus, costs $9 an hour, and is better suited for video streaming or large downloads.

The airline hasn’t revealed pricing for Simply Surf beyond the beta period—but there’s a chance it might stay free. According to a report from Skift, JetBlue senior vice president of marketing Marty St. George said, “We want to have the free option out there so customers can have unlimited web surfing and not have to pay for it. We want this to be a people’s product.”

JetBlue promises “at-home” Internet speeds that are eight times faster than other airlines’ Wi-Fi connections. The discount airline’s new high-capacity Ka-band satellite system is powered by ViaSat and LiveTV, and allows large numbers of passengers to surf the Web at remarkably fast speeds. A writer from Conde Nast Traveler tested it out, and reports, “Some of the speed freaks among us have posted speeds of more than 20 Mbps a second—faster by far than you’d get in many hot spots on terra firma.”

Today, the program rolled out on three planes, and JetBlue plans to have five aircraft with Fly-Fi connectivity by the end of 2013. Toward the end of 2014, JetBlue expects to offer Wi-Fi on more than 140 planes in its fleet.

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