September 22, 2010

Announcing in-flight connectivity for the 21st century

You’ve been asking about it, and now we’re excited to announce our plans for in-flight connectivity!

While the other guys are using a ground-based system built for the 20th century, we will launch a new, satellite-based product geared towards today’s (and tomorrow’s!) connectivity needs. This solution will again position us as the innovator to mimic.

Along with our new Business Partner ViaSat, we are creating what will be the industry’s best broadband connectivity solution. ViaSat’s innovative satellite technology will provide high-capacity broadband functionality that will be able to deliver real time two-way communications aboard our fleet.

Technology has outpaced ground-based connectivity options since we launched BetaBlue in 2007. The satellites in orbit today were built to transmit television and radio waves, not video, photo sharing and peer-to-peer networking. That’s where ViaSat comes in. Their satellite ViaSat-1 – launching next year – will create a generational leap in connectivity, bringing our Customers exponentially more bandwidth than any product in commercial aviation today.

We are introducing a revolutionary new technology to the industry, so the implementation will not be an instant upgrade. We will first need to launch the satellite, test the service, obtain FAA certification and install the new system on our aircraft. LiveTV will install and lead the certification process of the new system. Based on our timeline for that process and the need for ViaSat to launch the newly built satellite, we expect the first installations to occur by mid-2012. Although it won’t happen overnight, we promise it will be worth the wait!

Following the successful installation of the system, ViaSat and LiveTV intend to partner to bring the same advanced satellite broadband service to the airline industry.

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21 Comments on “Announcing in-flight connectivity for the 21st century”

  • Posted by Alan Hecht on September 22, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Will the service be free?

  • Posted by tina merritt on September 22, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    free service will = happy customers!

  • Posted by Chris Lyons on September 22, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Will passengers be able to use the “high capacity broadband” to make voice calls using applications like Skype? Or will it be limited to video, music, email, and other non-voice applications? Every other in-flight broadband service has prohibited voice; will JetBlue be the first to allow it?

    Also, you say “The satellites in orbit today were built to transmit television and radio waves, not video, photo sharing and peer-to-peer networking.”
    Um, television and video are the same thing, aren’t they? And your satellite will send and receive data using radio waves, just like every other satellite. I don’t see what’s revolutionary here, other than connecting from a satellite to an aircraft rather than a ground station.

  • Posted by NEWSREPORTER on September 22, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    We have been using in-flight connectivity on Delta for several months now. And it Works great. ($9.95 per flight- Lifetime sign up also available).

  • Posted by ttuttle on September 22, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    @Chris, live television and internet video aren’t quite the same thing, bandwidth-wise. JetBlue carries the same 36 channels of DirecTV on every flight, so the satellite only needs to transmit those 36 channels, and can do so easily by just relaying them from a ground station. Also, they can be sent as regular TV signals, which are easy for satellites to relay. Web video, on the other hand, is interactive — every passenger on every flight could be watching a different video, so it needs to be able to transmit hundreds or thousands of simultaneous streams. More importantly, though, web content requires a real Internet connection, not just a comparatively simple one-way video link. Even if you’re not really uploading anything, your computer has to be able to send requests for videos (and the web pages they come in), and acknowledge what it receives from the video provider.

  • Posted by Don Uselmann on September 22, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Dear Alan and Tina,

    While it’s too soon to know price points, we are committed to making this product as affordable as possible for our Customers!


    Don Uselmann
    Manager Product Development

  • Posted by Don Uselmann on September 22, 2010 at 2:31 pm


    Excellent questions!

    While it’s still too early to know whether voice calls will be permitted with this new product, anything is on the table. Our intention is to allow all applications and services that our customers demand.

    To answer your question about the new satellite’s capabilities, we’re referring mostly to the on-demand video needs of today’s consumer. This usage requires much more bandwidth than standard television broadcasts which are streamed and picked up by multiple users at once.

    Best regards,

    Don Uselmann
    Manager Product Development

  • Posted by David on September 22, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    So with wifi at JFK (t5) and many other airports as well for free, I will be able to stay connected during my entire travel time? Thats reason enough for me to not even look at other airlines when booking. Thanks for being awesome @JetBlue!

  • Posted by Wendy on September 22, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Please – no voice calls in flight! There’s NOTHING more annoying than listening to strangers’ phone calls!

  • Posted by Paul on September 22, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Now if you were only flying to Belize it would make a lot of people happy! Enjoy a choice of movies, shows, etc. and your destination is Paradise!

  • Posted by Jeff on September 22, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Whoah! My favorite airline will be getting in-flight wifi? That will totally make cross-country flights easier!

    Something that’s always irked me about wifi is that it’s an all-or-nothing proposition. If it’s not free, I’d love a way to get just an hour instead of my whole flight!

  • Posted by Martha on September 22, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    Connectivity makes me happy. Being forced to listen to the phone conversations of those around me does not. It’s annoying enough prior to take off and after landing but during the whole flight? Yikes.

  • Posted by Tyler on September 22, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    Mid 2012? How lame!!!!

  • Posted by Don Uselmann on September 22, 2010 at 7:55 pm


    The timeline is longer than we’d like, too – but when looking at the big picture, this is a decision that will set JetBlue up for success for years to come. Although it can be difficult, sometimes it takes not doing something to truly be innovative. I promise it will be worth the wait!


    Don Uselmann
    Manager Product Development

  • Posted by Kimbo on September 22, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    Yes, please. No voice calls. Some people like to sleep on an airplane, not listen to someone else yakking away for hours on end.

  • Posted by JetBlue on September 22, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Just a heads up to those inquiring about phone calls – JetBlue Customers have told us they don’t want phone calls allowed onboard, regardless of the capability. For future developments, we support silent options, and firmly believe our customers value a quiet onboard experience when flying JetBlue.

  • Posted by Ezra on September 22, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    I’m against voice calls, but at the same time, you can’t ban passengers talking to one another, and I chat with my seat mates all the time. Will Jetblue ban customers from talking to one another? LOL

  • Posted by Key on October 19, 2010 at 4:32 am

    well, I really hope that it shall be introduced and used in time, just safely not in destroying any devices & objects in and out that plane!

  • Posted by Eddy Cruz on December 9, 2010 at 7:08 am

    This is awesome… I love jetblue, and I always will… As an airline and as my employer. Best job I ever had and will always have.

  • Posted by cixasyday on December 16, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Evict in florida and tampa bay eviction. Come oon guys!

    Evict in florida

  • Posted by AgentAndi on January 2, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    Thank you JetBlue for not allowing voice calls!

    @Ezra, people speaking into their phones usually speak at a much higher volume than in conversations face to face. I hear it on the bus all the time.

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