"Verizon says it is ready to begin offering in-flight broadband service to airline passengers sometime in 2007. Verizon's announcement follows last week's issuance by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of updated rules on spectrum auctions, which open the door to broadband WiFi service for passengers high up in the air. Bill Pallone, president of Verizon Airfone, urged the FCC to auction new licenses in the 800 MHz band. "There are many interested airlines and general aviation operators that share our commitment to this broadband vision," he said.
Verizon's WiFi technology is based on CDMA2000 1xEV-DO with provisions for extended distances and Doppler compensation for high-speed aircraft. The company had been conducting trials since 2004 of service capable of ground-to-air peak speeds of 2.4 Mbps--enough for Web browsing, email service and VoIP telephony. The system will not interfere with cockpit electronics."
While I realize we will never return to the era where men wore ties and jackets and women wore dresses while traveling by plane, this announcement signifies the end of civility as we now know it. I expect many fistfights involving people who couldn't take listening to someone chattering away on their (VoIP) phone. What's more, the flight delays caused by having to have the combatants escorted from planes by Air Marshals will be awful..