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In-flight broadband business to surge

According to estimates by analyst house In-Stat, there will be more than 200 million in-flight broadband connections annually by 2013, with the long-haul connections dominating
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Written by Natasha Lomas on

The fledgling in-flight broadband market is set for serious growth this year, according to analyst house In-Stat, which predicts the number of web-enabled airplanes will surge from 25 in 2008 to some 800 by the end of this year.

In-Stat estimates there will be more than 200 million in-flight broadband connections annually by 2013, with the long-haul connections dominating.

Meanwhile on the gadget front, laptops and netbooks will generate more connections than handheld devices such as smartphones — accounting for about two-thirds and one-third, respectively.

The analyst believes broadband-hungry airline passengers will generate more than $49m (£32m) of revenue worldwide this year, expanding to more than $1bn annually by 2012.

But despite the market gaining momentum the analyst said challenges to growth still remain — not least the sickly worldwide economy.

Back in January, British Airways announced plans to launch an in-flight wireless service later this year for emails, internet browsing and SMS, on an all-business-class route from London City airport to New York JFK.

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