Gogo Wi-Fi Has Big Plans to Keep You Connected
BY Jill Krasny
Working in-flight could get much easier now that the recently IPO'd company has plans for an international rollout.
Who needs sleep, anyway? Those long-haul international flights could become a lot more productive thanks to Gogo, an Itasca, Illinois-based company that provides in-flight Internet access via Wi-Fi.
Gogo, which had its $187 million initial public offering last Friday, plans to "use proceeds partly to finance a planned international rollout using Ku-band satellite technology," so that its system can work overseas, reports Joe Sharkey of The New York Times.
Currently, Gogo's system is available on about 1,900 commercial airplanes that fly domestically, including many Delta and American Airlines flights. Soon, Gogo may begin offering its service on some of the 88 percent of international flights that lack Internet access.
Gogo has the distinction of being the most visible company in a highly competitive market that grows more saturated with each passing day. So far, Gogo's clearest competitors are Panasonic Avionics, Row 44, and ViaSat, according to the New York Times.
Gogo's service isn't exactly cheap--the company charges $14 for a daily pass and $42 for a monthly pass on any airline with its equipment--and critics have argued it's slow and unreliable. Some analysts, like Tim Farrar, president of TMF Associates, a research firm in Menlo Park, California, say Gogo has its work cut out for it, because consumers expect Wi-Fi to be free.
But many business travelers, desperate to send a few emails, are ponying up for in-flight Internet. A survey conducted in 2009 and cited by The Atlantic Wire found 76 percent of self-described frequent fliers would pay for the option to stay connected from 33,000 feet. Plus, most road warriors feel compelled to work overtime, and many would find it hard to resist getting some work done on a 12-hour flight.