Boeing Strikes Content Deal for In-Flight Web Service

Boeing Co., pushing strongly to become the first widely-available airborne
broadband ISP through its Connexion by Boeing service, Monday moved to
expand the content available on the service through a deal with
ScreamingMedia Inc.

Under the terms of the agreement, ScreamingMedia will aggregate licensed
content — including worldwide, national and local news, sports and
features — from more than 3,000 publications in its digital content
network. It will then filter, deliver and instantaneously integrate the
content into the Connexion by Boeing service.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

“This content complements our full Internet/company intranet access and
infuses the Connexion by Boeing service with the time-sensitive data you
need to stay informed in a global manner,” said Ric Vandermeulen, director
of strategy and marketing for Connexion by Boeing. “Secondly, it allows us
to provide regional, customized content using a forward-looking technology
solution.”

ScreamingMedia will deliver its own content and its technology solution
software will be used to deliver pre-contracted third-party content as well.
The company said its ContentEngine technology will parse, normalize,
process, customize and integrate the content as part of the delivery
process. The content will be used to supplement live television and radio
content, as well as flight-specific information, Boeing said.

ScreamingMedia is not alone. Boeing has been expanding its network of
partners — both content and service providers — in an effort to add value
to the service. The company has already signed memoranda of agreement with
CNN Inflight Services, Mitsubishi Electric Corp., Alenia Spazio, Loral
Skynet Matsushita Avionics Systems Corp. and CNBC.

The Connexion by Boeing service is a drive to extend home- and office-like
connectivity to airline passengers. The mobile broadband service is expected
to be priced comparably with cellular phone service, and will offer
passengers access to the Internet, e-mail, television news and information
in real-time, and advance over the less costly narrowband cached Internet
and e-mail capabilities offered by competitors in the space like Tenzing.

Boeing’s solution extends the capabilities of a Network Operations Center
(NOC) to a satellite orbiting at about 23,000 miles. Information is uplinked
from the NOC to a satellite, which then downlinks the information to an
aircraft via an antenna mounted on the fuselage. The antenna remains in
constant contact with the satellite, even when the plane is moving at 600
miles per hour. The downlinked information goes to an on-board server and
the signal is then routed to individual seats on the aircraft.

Boeing Chief Executive Officer Phil Condit, who utilizes the service aboard
his business jet, is apparently one the biggest advocates of the service.
Terrance Scott, director of Media Relations for Boeing, told
InternetNews.com in April
that Condit frequently says he spent more than 70
full working days in the air last year.

Meanwhile, Tenzing maintains that narrowband, cached systems remain
attractive due to price issues. And competition is sure to grow fiercer with
Boeing arch-rival Airbus set to unveil its own system — said to include
both broadband and narrowband capabilities — at the Paris Air Show in June.

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