Some executives say that satellite connectivity will lower the cost of in-flight Internet service, eventually making broadband a free service in the air. Inmarsat has teamed up with Honeywell to bring its signal to Honeywell's equipment next year, while Intelsat should put its first Epic satellite in space in 2015. "Air-to-ground was a unique situation that worked just right in the U.S. for us to get the early lead," said Gogo CEO Michael Small. "But in the long run, it will be predominantly a satellite solution."

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