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Wi-fi As You Fly

Wireless hot spots aren't just for cafes anymore.

After several fits and starts and sputters over the years, in-flight broadband has finally found itself a home with a couple of different airlines. American Airlines and Virgin America have teamed up with in-flight broadband provider Aircell to offer services on some of their domestic flights. Aircell essentially turns each plane into a flying wireless hot spot. The service, called Gogo Inflight Internet, lets passengers connect using their usual Wi-Fi-equipped laptops or other mobile devices.

Gogo costs $9.95 for flights less than three hours and $12.95 for longer flights. Subscribers to the iPasshot-spot aggregator service can get one-click access to the Gogo network on participating flights. JetBlue's free BetaBlue-equipped airplane debuted late last year. Its service is a restricted version of Wi-Fi that allows limited web access and e-mail through some of the most popular service providers like Gmail, Windows Live and Yahoo. BlackBerry users can also access their accounts through BetaBlue. Gogo is a more fully featured service than BetaBlue, leaving entrepreneurs free to hook into their business networks through a VPN or browse the web and access e-mail unfettered. Availability is currently limited, but expect Gogo soon on a plane near you.

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