For airline travelers, 2008 was a “watershed year” for the introduction of Internet service on commercial aircraft, Jack Blumenstein, CEO of Aircell LLC (http://www.aircell.com) told RCRWireless (http://www.rcrwireless.com/article/20090109/WIRELESS/901089995/1103/wi-fi-pie-in-the-sky/wi-fi-pie-in-the-sky#). While we are still years away from connecting our own personal handsets to an on-board Wi-Fi network and watching movies, playing video games and surfing the Internet, the groundwork has been laid, Blumenstein said. Last August, American Airlines started offering in-flight Internet service and now Virgin America, Air Canada and Delta, among others, have followed suit. Delta recently announced it will expand its Internet service from a handful of planes to its main fleet of 330 aircraft.

Several small cap companies partner with OEMs and companies like AirCell to help build the in-flight entertainment networks. EMRISE Corp. (NYSE arca: ERI, http://www.emrise.com) provides electronic components and sub-systems that help implement satellite and pay-per-view TV, video on demand and cell phone use, as well as broadband Internet access. EMS Technologies (http://www.ems-t.com) builds “the plumbing of the (in-flight Internet services) business,” CEO Paul Domorski told RCRWireless.

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