Boeing Connexion Ready For Takeoff

Boeing Co. says its airborne Internet and entertainment venture, Connexion, will be available for installation in commercial airline seats beginning early next year.

Already serving the private jet market, Connexion uses existing satellites and a proprietary Boeing antenna system to give users broadband Internet access as well as live connections to television and audio networks. Passengers will pay an as-yet undetermined fee for Internet and intranet access and premium television channels, but some information and shopping services will be free to any passenger with a laptop computer.

Content partners on board for the Connexion venture include news channels CNN and CNBC, as well as sports programming mainstay Eurosport. Additional content relationships also are under way, Boeing said. Airlines that have in-flight broadcast content can use the Boeing system to air it, Boeing said.

The intention is to complement, not replace, current in-flight entertainment offerings, according to the company. Connexion president Scott Carson said the service strives to provide travelers the same Internet experience they enjoy on land.