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  • 09.29.16

Why airplane internet is so slow and what one company plans to do about it

It’s all about supply and demand. The proliferation of mobile devices over the last decade has overtaxed in-flight Wi-Fi services, where bandwidth is limited but appetite for connectivity keeps growing. Gogo Inc., an early leader in the field, hasn’t had a major upgrade since 2008—a time when the iPhone was in its infancy and the iPad didn’t exist. 

Now, the company says it’s planning a major upgrade that will bring speedier service to U.S. carriers, but travelers won’t notice any change until 2018, the Wall Street Journal reports. That’s because the upgrade will require vast infrastructure improvements on both airplanes and cell towers. In the meantime, a number of rivals are nipping at Gogo’s heels, providing faster service at lower costs.

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