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JetBlue, everyone’s favorite “I guess I don’t mind taking this airline” airline, today launched its long-in-development tech for in-flight Wi-Fi internet. Though it’s certainly not the first airline to do so, it might be the first to do it better.

The company has announced that they’re the first to deliver a true home broadband experience up in the air, meaning higher speeds and faster access. And best of all, JetBlue is taking this fight to the other airlines by making access free to any and all passengers – not just those who’ll pay a premium.

Other airlines have made use of services like Gogo air-to-ground internet or Row 44’s satellite internet, but JetBlue waited for the higher-end alternative to become implementable: ViaSat’s next-generation satellite internet. Impressively, it claims to maintain a solid 140Gbps link to the ground, providing substantially quicker access to passengers in the air.

JetBlue won’t use all of that speed all of the time, though, director of product at JetBlue Jaime Perry mentioned. It will, however, pump more data to the aircraft as more users log on, keeping other passengers from decreasing the overall network speed – and keeping your connection “decent.”

But what’s decent in JetBlue’s eyes? Apparently, upwards of 20Mbps at the highest – higher than the average speed of most American home broadband setups. The company isn’t promising any particular speed, but does promise an experience akin to broadband.

But what if you want faster Internet? JetBlue has you covered there too, as they’ll be offering a $9 an hour upgraded service, which nets you faster speeds for streaming higher-quality video and music. And unlike free users who will have their speeds throttled after they consume a certain threshold of data (streaming too much video, etc), premium users aren’t subject to such a limit.

“If you went to YouTube and watched a 90-second video, you would be fine,” Perry said.

“If you went to Netflix and started watching a hi-def video, it wouldn’t be long before a message popped up saying you should upgrade to the premium service.”

JetBlue’s new Wi-Fi internet is currently installed on three planes, but is rapidly being installed across the company’s whole fleet. The majority of aircraft under the company’s wing (sorry), should be “FlyFi-capable” by sometime in 2015.


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