In-flight Wi-Fi provider Gogo scores Virgin Atlantic deal

Virgin Atlantic will equip its entire fleet with Gogo’s new 2Ku in-flight Wi-Fi service, which promises shared connections of up to 70Mbps via satellite link.

That’s a substantial improvement on the shared 3.1Mbps that [company]Gogo[/company]’s current ground-based wireless broadband provides. For Gogo, the deal also marks significant territorial expansion: Although a definitive agreement is yet to be struck, England-based [company]Virgin Atlantic[/company] is the first European carrier to sign up with the U.S. provider, with all of its aircraft in line to be hooked up.

As yet, there’s no indication of how much the service will cost. Gogo’s prices aren’t so bad if you buy beforehand (depending on how regularly you use the service), but they’re higher on the plane – arguably too high when the speeds are sluggish.

Indeed, in the U.S. there was a class action lawsuit (apparently settled in June) over the allegedly anticompetitive nature of Gogo’s airline partnerships. Other providers are cheaper, but there’s no choice between providers once you’re in your seat.

But again, that situation is exacerbated by Gogo’s traditional use of ground-to-air technology. Perhaps the switch to speedier 2Ku will give customers less cause to complain, even if they still have limited choice.