December 13 2013  |  Inflight Entertainment

JetBlue's Ka-band Fly-Fi™ launches this week

By Rick Lundstrom

 First JetBlue Fly-Fi aircraft at Live-TV's facility in Orlando

JetBlue Airways became the first airline to use high-speed Ka-band satellite connectivity with the launch of Fly-Fi™, its branded inflight Internet product this week.

Fly-Fi promises travelers broadband Internet in the sky comparable to the speed of home Internet service.

JetBlue Fly-Fi Ka-band satellite connectivity is eight times faster than older, slower inflight connections, says the airline. During the beta period rollout, JetBlue is offering free Internet browsing on board. The promotion, called Simply Surf, will be on Fly-Fi equipped aircraft through June 2014. In addition, JetBlue offers a live video streaming high-bandwidth plan, Fly-Fi Plus, at $9 per hour for applications such as streaming movies or large downloads. JetBlue has partnered with its inflight entertainment and connectivity subsidiary LiveTV as well as satellite provider ViaSat to launch the product.

"Every traveler using Wi-Fi on JetBlue or any other carrier should test their connection with, and post their speeds using #WiFiFlightSpeed on social networks. Travelers should be able to see the speeds of all Wi-Fi systems in the sky and make an informed choice," said Marty St. George, JetBlue senior vice president marketing and commercial strategy, in the December 12 announcement of the new service. "Customers should demand fast broadband and should discover what true broadband inflight connectivity means." is an often-used public standard for Internet speed measurement.

JetBlue has spent more than two years working with LiveTV, and ViaSat to create Fly-Fi. JetBlue will have Fly-Fi on five aircraft by yearend and more than 140 aircraft by yearend 2014. Its Embraer 190 fleet will be completed in 2015.

In addition to launching Fly-Fi, JetBlue expects to allow taxi-in to taxi-out use of Fly-Fi by January. JetBlue expanded the use of electronic devices last month.

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