Airborne Internet service stalls on take-off


Airborne Internet service stalls on take-off

A project by Boeing to provide high-speed Internet access from its planes has been delayed indefinitely after three of the company's airline partners in the joint venture pulled out of the project.

American Airlines, Delta and United Airlines have withdrawn following financial losses after the 11 September terrorist attacks in the US. German airline Lufthansa is now Boeing's only partner on the project, known as Connexion.

"The joint venture is now suspended, however, Connexion is to continue and we will work together with our former partners to define and refine Connexion services in the future," said a Boeing representative.

Announced in June, Connexion was to be installed in up to 1,500 airliners beginning in mid-2002, and was to offer two-way broadband e-mail, Internet, corporate intranet, live television and other entertainment services via satellites.

Connexion was to provide passengers with Internet connection speeds of at least 56kbps at cost of between $10 (£7) and $20 an hour.

The service required the airlines to retrofit their aircraft with Ethernet-type wiring and phased-array antennas to connect to a high-speed satellite service and the cash-strapped US airline industry has decided to delay these extra costs.

Lufthansa said its plans for Connexion remained unchanged. In June, it became the fourth airline, and the first outside the US to say it would offer Boeing's planned service in its aircraft.

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