Whose side are you on? In-flight Wi-Fi.

Apakah anda termasuk orang yang maniac harus terhubung ke Internet, sehingga ketika sedang terbangpun anda tetap ingin “being connected”? Itu adalah pilihan anda.  Ada yang senang 24/7 terhubung, tapi juga ada yang menjadikan pesawat terbang adalah tempat “get out” terbaik dari rutinitas. Silakan menyimak, semoga berguna.

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The continued unpopularity of in-flight Wi-Fi

Dec 31st 2011, 13:43 by N.B. | WASHINGTON, D.C.

GOGO, which provides in-flight Wi-Fi to many American airlines, recently filed for an initial public offering. But as Dan Frommer, a tech writer, reminds us (via Slate‘s Matt Yglesias), in-flight Wi-Fi is still quite unpopular: just 4% of passengers on flights that offer Gogo Wi-Fi actually pay for the service. (Gulliver wrote about air travellers’ unwillingness to pay for Wi-Fi service way back in 2009.)

Mr Frommer believes that the 4% statistic is a sign that a very small base of Wi-Fi users (probably business travellers and bloggers like Mr Yglesias and your correspondent) provide the majority of Gogo’s revenue. But Mr Yglesias argues that the low purchase rate “casts the sometimes questionable quality of the service in a stark light” and compares Gogo to the truly abysmal Amtrak Wi-Fi, which I’vecriticised in this space before. (Perhaps part of the problem is that many employers will not reimburse for in-flight Wi-Fi.)

Ultimately, Gogo’s business model could be threatened by the fact that using cell phones and wireless modems on an aeroplane probably won’t cause you to plummet out of the sky. (It can, however, interfere with ground-based networks and unshielded aeroplane instrumentation.) A more enlightened airport security regime and technological progress might eventually allow passengers to use their own wireless modems while airborne. If that happens at some point in the future, Gogo would be in big trouble. In my experience, the service isn’t good enough to realistically compete with the speeds offered by a 3G wireless modem.

The bigger problem for Gogo and other in-flight Wi-Fi providers is that most people aren’t willing to pay for what is usually a slow, unreliable internet connection unless they absolutely must. There’s plenty of work that even a blogger can do without an internet connection, and a plane is often the best place to do that sort of work. And if more people did start using the in-flight service, that would make it even slower. But perhaps I’m being too pessimistic about Gogo’s prospects. Mr Frommer has a lot more points to consider; his piece is definitely worth the click-through.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/gulliver/2011/12/flight-wi-fi?fsrc=scn/tw/te/bl/continuinedunpopularity

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