As a frequent flyer from our nation’s capital, I’m happy to report that Boingo Wireless is adding Dulles International and Washington National to its expanding global network of airport hotspots accessible to travellers.
The Boingo Wireless contracts mean Boingo’s WiFi network will now be available to the more than 24 million passengers who travel through Dulles annually, and the more than 18 million annual passengers who fly through Washington National. A statement will be released today.
As Boingo and other mobile Internet aggregators expand on the ground, one wonders what type of competition they will face from airborne connectivity providers.
Will travellers forgo their airport hotspot hook-up in order to connect on the aircraft via Aircell, LiveTV, Row 44 or Panasonic? Or will Boingo and others be able to convince folks to do their e-mailing/Internet searches pre-flight?
Flight duration will surely be a factor. A two hour flight might not warrant an airborne connection but passengers on a long-haul flight may get the itchy finger (that is, at least, what American Airlines is counting on as it readies to launch Aircell’s Gogo service on transcontinental 767 flights).
There is, of course, the possibility that a marketing arrangement can be reached by Boingo with air-to-ground and satellite-based connectivity players. Boingo serves more than 500 airports including 85 of the top 100 airports worldwide. That’s a powerful presence. Already laying some groundwork in this regard is iPass, which recently announced it will offer WiFi roaming with Aircell’s Gogo.
(Finger pic at Wikipedia here)