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Consumers Join Mile High Broadband Club

There's a new mile high club, where people access the Internet from their passenger seat in a jet plane. The number of broadband enabled airplanes will increase from 25 in 2008 to 800 in 2009, according to the latest market study by In-Stat.

As a result, broadband ready airline passengers will generate over $47 million worldwide in 2009. The in-flight broadband market is still emerging and will grow well beyond $1 billion annually by 2012.

"The market is clearly gaining momentum, with deployments escalating in number," says Daryl Schoolar, In-Stat analyst. "However, in-flight broadband faces challenges, however, by the struggling economy and competing non-traditional IFE solutions."

Live broadcast video is also poised for significant growth in 2009. While this service is more established than in-flight broadband, usage revenues are still anticipated to nearly double in 2009 and continue to grow strongly through 2013.

In-Stat's market study found the following:

- In-flight broadband equipment revenue will nearly double between 2009 and 2013.

- Competing providers of include Aircell, Panasonic and Row44.

- In-Stat forecasts over 200 million annual in-flight broadband connects by 2013, with long-haul connects dominating over short-haul connects.

- Connections from handheld devices will account for about 1/3 of connects, with notebook computers accounting for 2/3.

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