Boeing Sees In-Flight Cellphone Use Taking Off

    June 16, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

Once the regulatory hurdles are cleared, Boeing unit Connexion thinks in-flight cellular service could begin next year.

“We expect that once the regulatory issues and the social issues are ironed out we’ll be introducing that service as well,” said Laurette Koellner, president of Connexion by Boeing, the unit which offers in-flight Web access. “We’re projecting that to be some time next year.”

But according to Reuters, a poll of US passengers by the National Consumers League do not want the existing ban on cellphones lifted. Currently, the FAA is reviewing the ban and considering proposals from Connexion and others to make changes.

Ms. Koellner foresees a compromise where quiet times during a flight, or quiet zones of an aircraft, would be in effect. Flight attendants have not been in favor of trying to enforce these sorts of requirements, saying confrontations with passengers who won’t turn off their phones would be a problem.

Connexion also has signed a contract with a market very different from air travel. An agreement with Teekay Shipping will have the Connexion service available on cargo ships.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.