American Airlines and Delta decide to filter in-flight broadband
American Airlines and Delta Air Lines have both decided to filter their in-flight wireless broadband internet access to prevent passengers from viewing pornographic content. Previously, they had planned that cabin crew would deal directly with passengers to prevent people from looking at web sites that other passengers might find offensive.
American Airlines is currently working with its service provider Gogo Inflight to block obscene content, it said in a statement, adding that reactions of both passengers and staff had led to its decision. Delta Air Lines has come to the same decision, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It is working with Gogo's parent company, Aircell. The moves were arranged in consultation with the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, after a number of complaints were received from other passengers. The services are still very new – American's launched in August of this year and Delta's is due to start in November.
American claims it is the first airline to offer internet access to passengers, although Gogo has also signed a deal with Virgin Atlantic. Southwest Airlines and Jet Blue, both US carriers, are also testing such services. American's service is available on 15 Boeing 767-200 aircraft flying on New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami routes. Delta says it will roll it out for all 330 aircraft in its fleet.
The service is reasonably-priced, at $9.95 for flights under three hours and $12.95 for longer trips. The service is only available when the aeroplane is above 10,000 feet, and high-bandwidth services such as Skype and other VoIP programs are also blocked. The service uses a network of 94 ground-based antennae and offers approximately a 2Mbps connection, although data is compressed for transmission and cached onboard the aircraft. This makes it both cheaper and faster than the ill-fated Connexion by Boeing satellite-based service, which required nearly 200kg of equipment to be carried and cost $25-$35. It opened in 2004 and closed in 2006.
As public internet access grows ever more widespread, there is an increasing problem with people viewing adult-only web sites in public places where others can see – including, incredibly, child pornography in public libraries and in the workplace.