Boeing's Connexion service takes to the sea

Austrian Airlines has signed to roll out the Connexion by Boeing broadband service on its aircraft.

The Boeing Co.'s Connexion by Boeing satellite-delivered Internet service picked up two new clients this week. Austrian Airlines Group said at the Paris Air Show that it will install the service on its long-haul fleet, while Teekay Shipping said it will install the service on some of its ships.

Austrian Airlines will install the in-flight broadband Internet service to three of its Boeing 777 aircraft and three of its Boeing 767s. Installation will begin in early 2006 and service will be launched as soon as each aircraft has been equipped. Austrian Airlines also signed options to install the service on an undisclosed number of additional aircraft, it said.

Austrian Airlines becomes the third European airline to sign up for the service, after Germany's Lufthansa and SAS's Scandinavian Airline Systems.

Connexion by Boeing uses satellites to provide high-speed data connections between aircraft and ground stations linked to the Internet. The connection speed is typically about 5M bps (megabits per second) downstream to the aircraft and 1M bps upstream to the Internet.

The deal with Teekay Shipping marks Boeing's first success in the maritime sector. Boeing started promoting the service to ship operators last year and the Teekay deal will see the broadband Internet service installed on 50 of the company's ships. Teekay operates a fleet of 140 tankers and transports more than 10 percent of the world's seaborne oil, it said in a statement.

The maritime service will deliver a 5M bps downstream connection to the ships and a 256k bps upstream service. It will support Internet access, e-mail, corporate intranet access and other data services.

Also last week, Scandinavian telecommunication company TeliaSonera said it has signed a roaming agreement with Connexion by Boeing that will allow its Internet customers to access Connexion's service using their existing accounts. Billing will be handled by TeliaSonera.

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
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