Back in November 2011, Air China (China’s national airline) launched its in-flight Wi-Fi service. Unfortunately it wasn’t a real Wi-Fi network, with users only connected to the in-flight intranet instead of the real internet.
Users could access services such as the in-flight movie and music selection, but not social networking sites or instant messenger services. Now, however, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) is testing new land-to-air broadband communications systems to allow passengers to access the real internet while flying, of course by real internet, they mean the internet as judged by China.
Reports in Beijing say that China Air will be working with China Telecom to launch the new system, Beijing News reports that the new system developed by Huawei will have ground bases all along the airline routes to send signals to planes, signals that are expected to reach speeds of 30Mps. The current in-flight Wi-Fi speed in the US is only 10Mpbs.
The CAAC has yet to announce how much this service will cost, or address how open this system truly is. Calls to Air China inquiring about whether if online gaming will be supported has not been returned but based on the fact that users will be able to access Tecent’s QQ, there maybe some form of simple browser based gaming available.
According to Beijing News, the new in-flight Wi-Fi service will go live by the end of 2012.
国航航班首次测试空中”无线局域网 [Beijing News]