Gogo promises faster inflight Wi-Fi after FAA clearance

The inflight Wi-Fi company Gogo is promising a faster connection in coming years after the Federal Aviation Administration cleared its new technology for testing aboard planes. 

Gogo announced this week that the FAA approved its new generation of efficient satellite antennas on planes, called 2ku, that can deliver speeds of up to 70 Mbps — 20 times faster than its average current service, according to the company. 

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The company noted that seven commercial airlines had signed up to have the technology deployed on some of their aircraft. 

It said it wants to launch commercial service later this year. That will require planes get fitted with the technology, which will begin in 2016. 

About 2,400 commercial planes have installed Gogo technology and it has current partnerships with 11 airlines. It also provides service for 6,800 business aircraft. 

The Wi-Fi access by Gogo can be provided through satellites as well as cell towers on the ground. Prices range anywhere from a one-hour pass for $5 to $60 for unlimited monthly service. 

The market for inflight Wi-Fi varies from airline to airline, and many users have complained about the unreliability of speeds. High bandwidth activities like streaming video are usually blocked, and speeds can slow dramatically depending on how many passengers are using the connection.