Virgin America in-flight Internet to go up a big notch

Virgin America and Gogo announce an upgrade to the carrier's in-flight Internet service that should quadruple the current bandwidth.

Virgin America passengers hold up their wireless devices inside an Airbus A320 about 35,000 feet above San Francisco at the launch of the carrier's in-flight Gogo Wi-Fi Internet service back in 2008.
Virgin America passengers hold up their wireless devices inside an Airbus A320 about 35,000 feet above San Francisco at the launch of the carrier's in-flight Gogo Wi-Fi Internet service in 2008. Virgin America

Virgin America and Gogo announced today that the carrier will be the first airline to offer Gogo's next-generation ATG-4 service. The two companies debuted the in-flight Internet access almost three years ago, and in May 2009, Virgin offered fleetwide Wi-Fi access via Gogo service.

According to Gogo, the new ATG-4 service will increase Wi-Fi capacity by about four times the current performance. This means you can download files faster and can even stream HD content without much latency, while flying. The companies say this improvement is achieved via the addition of directional antenna, dual-modem, and EV-DO Rev. B technology.

Gogo's ATG-4 service on Virgin America is scheduled to arrive on aircraft beginning in the first half of 2012. Existing ATG systems can be upgraded at low cost, the companies said.

Currently, the Gogo service is available for $12.95 for flights of more than 3 hours, $9.95 for flights between 1.5 and 3 hours, and $4.95 for flights of 1.5 hours or less. Frequent fliers can also opt for an unlimited monthly plan of $39.95. According to Virgin America, on average about one-third of its passengers log on to the Gogo service.

About the author

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews networking and storage products, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.

 

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