Boeing Nixes Wireless Network for Next Airliner

Boeing Co. (BA) said on Thursday that it will not use a wireless network to deliver in-flight entertainment on the 787 "Dreamliner" plane because of problems involving plane weight and the technology.

A wireless network would add 200 pounds per plane, rather than 50 pounds for a wired network.

Also, Boeing could not get permission to use certain wireless frequencies from some countries, spokeswoman Lori Gunter said.

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That would make it difficult to deliver entertainment such as DVD-quality movies, which consume high amounts of spectrum, she said.

Boeing would have worked on the weight problem, but decided against it because of the spectrum issue, she said.

"Knowing that the regulatory issues were basically insurmountable, it just did not make sense to apply those resources there," Gunter said.

She declined to say which countries were unwilling to approve the use of the frequencies, adding that the United States was not among them.

She also declined to say how much the company had spent on the wireless network, but added that the research and development it did will serve the wired network as well.

"The money spent on that development is not at all considered wasted," she said.

Boeing continues to work with the network's suppliers, Panasonic and Thales, on the wired network. It also is sticking to its plan to make the first Dreamliner flight in late August, she said.