iPass signs deal with Panasonic Avionics to add 23 more airlines to its network
iPass users can now access Wi-Fi on 2,700 aircraft after the firm agreed a deal with in-flight entertainment system manufacturer Panasonic Avionics.
The deal adds another 23 airlines, including Air Berlin and WestJet, and 747 aircraft to iPass’s network of Wi-Fi hotspots, bringing the total figure to 2,700 planes.
“Inflight Wi-Fi is critical for our business customers, and our partnership with Panasonic extends iPass’ inflight footprint to many of the world’s leading international carriers,” said Patricia Hume, chief commercial officer at iPass.
“Moreover, the partnership supports our strategy to offer iPass everywhere, so that iPass customers can move from airport to airplane to airport and beyond, with one, seamless, Wi-Fi first, Internet experience.”
iPass does not own any hotspots itself and instead agrees partnerships with various providers to offer businesses a single log-in and billing service that promises to make it easier and cheaper to use wireless Internet services around the world.
Last year it integrated Devicescape’s 20 million curated access points into its network, bringing its total footprint to 50 million, or two thirds of the world’s public hotspots.
Air travel has long been considered the final refuge of those wishing to avoid phone calls, text messages and the Internet, but this sanctuary is slowly being eroded as more airlines offer in-flight Wi-Fi.
A number of US carriers and Australia’s Qantas have offered connections for some time, while British Airways is set to offer Internet to passengers through a new S-band satellite called Europsat, which will go live in 2016 with the intent of serving the European aviation market.
Virgin Atlantic already offers high speed connectivity on some transatlantic flights from Europe after the Branson-branded airline agreed a deal with Gogo late last year. Budget carrier Ryanair is also considering offering Wi-Fi as part of its push to attract more business passengers.
However some security researchers have raised concerns that such systems might be used by hackers to control aircraft systems.
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