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Boeing to adjust in-flight internet prices

Surfing the sky waves

Boeing will adjust the prices it charges for internet access from the air via its Connexion by Boeing service later this month, it said today. The company will also make available four channels of live television to equipped aircraft during January and offer direct access to Yahoo's portal.

Connexion by Boeing allows passengers on aircraft hooked up to the satellite-delivered service to access the internet at broadband speeds while in flight and has been available since mid-2004. It's now offered on about 170 flights a day, operated by 9 airlines.

The new pricing will make it cheaper to use the service in many cases.

For example, at present users pay $30 (about £17) to access the service for an entire flight of 6 hours or more under Connexion's 'Internet Flight' option. This is revised to $27 (£15) under the new charges and is expanded to cover connecting flights within a 24-hour period from the start of paid service.

The 'Internet Time' option, which allows access for a set period of time, remains unchanged at $10 (£5.50) per hour of service and is reduced from $17 to $15 (£10 to £8.50) for 2 hours of service. A three-hour option has been added for $18 (£10.50).

However, in some instances the service will be more expensive to use. The 'Internet Flight' option used to allow passengers on medium-haul flights of between three and six hours to get unlimited access for $20 (£11.50), but under the new scheme they'll have to choose between three hours of internet time for $18 or a 24-hour block for $27.

The new prices will come into effect on 31 January.

Additionally, the company said it will make available several channels of live television from 23 January. BBC World, EuroNews, Eurosportnews, CNBC and MSNBC will be available for viewing via a laptop. The live TV service has been available to Singapore Airlines passengers since the middle of 2005.

Connexion by Boeing will also tie up with Yahoo from 15 January and make its web search and email service directly available via the service portal.

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