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Boingo takes to the air

Deal with Boeing broadband subsidiary Connexion will make it possible for customers to go online while in flight.

Wi-Fi service provider Boingo Wireless has extended its coverage eight miles high by entering into a roaming pact with Connexion by Boeing, a subsidiary of the aircraft manufacturer that offers broadband connectivity to passengers aboard airplanes.

The agreement will let Boingo subscribers wirelessly access the Internet while they're on planes that offer the Connexion service.

"This unprecedented expansion of our intercontinental footprint makes the mobile office complete for airline customers," Colby Goff, Boingo's vice president of network strategy, said in a statement.

Such a service lets passengers connect to their corporate networks, send and receive e-mails with attachments, access corporate business applications and surf the Web while airborne.

Several international airlines, such as Lufthansa; Scandinavian Airlines System, or SAS; Japan Airlines, and ANA are already offering in-flight Internet service. Others, including Singapore Airlines, China Airlines and Korean Air, are slated to start the service later this year.

No U.S. airline offers the service yet, but they'll be able to by 2006, following a Federal Communications Commission decision regarding the use of cell phones and high-speed wireless Internet on airplanes.

The Boingo service will be available to customers of Boingo's partners as well. A number of big-ticket Internet service providers, such as EarthLink, MCI, Fiberlink and Telecom Italia, are tied up with Boingo under its Platform Service Program for Wi-Fi service.