Row 44′s system works well, really well. That’s what a Southwest Airlines executive said yesterday at the WAEA single focus connectivity workshop in Everett, Washington. The same Southwest executive said some other things too, like the fact that the carrier has talked to Aircell about its Gogo broadband solution. But he cleared up one important issue about Row 44′s licensing. Southwest believes the Row 44 system will receive permanent authority from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the not too distant future.
Row 44′s top executives, CEO John Guidon and president Gregg Fialcowitz, were in attendance at the show. Naturally, I wanted to talk to them about their product, and the objections they’ve faced from ViaSat at the FCC. I also wanted to ask them about Southwest’s Aircell revelation. So, for hook or crook, I approached the two gentlemen and proceeded to give them what essentially was a sales pitch as to why they should talk to me. Why they should dispel the apparent myths about their product – those interference allegations - and a whole bunch of other whys.
But explaining the whys has not been Row 44′s style of late. The California-based company prefers to leave others guessing on a number of issues. That’s particularly unfortunate given today’s news that Lufthansa – the first and largest Connexion by Boeing customer – is ready to reignite that service. Ku, in short, has just received a major shot in the arm at a time when Row 44 is the only Ku-band service provider now operating on aircraft (Alaska and Southwest’s aircraft to be exact).
While Row 44′s thinking does not do this journalist – or this blog – a lick of good, I must say I totally respect the company’s prerogative. But here is my good faith effort nonetheless…