Set the Time Machine to 1982: In-Flight, Hotel Broadband

By unwire, June 7, 2006

In Glenn Fleishman’s website, Set the Time Machine to 1982: In-Flight, Hotel Broadband:

This most amazing paragraph belies the next 24 years: “An unrelated
company, Airfone Inc., hopes to begin testing the nation’s first
commercial air-to-ground telephone system next month. Assuming the
experiment works, Airfone officials say it’s a small step from an
airplane telephone system transmitting voices to a phone system
transmitting computer data.”

I fondly remember a business trip in the early 80’s when my boss’s current girlfriend worked for Airfone. She brought along a GTE Airphone card that allowed unlimited use. Needless to say, we all spent the flight making lots of phone calls.

Shades of Wi-Fi in this paragraph: “Dallas-based Travelhost Inc. plans
to begin placing small computer terminals in hotel and motel rooms in
January. The company is convinced it can entice hotel operators to
place 500,000 terminals in the field by mid-1985.”

I’m sure they were thinking about the Minitel. The French government planned to stop printing phone books in the 80’s and give everyone a terminal. At the time I had spent a couple years living in Quebec Canada and could speak pretty good French. I subscribed to a Canadian Mintel service which was linked to the French network and used a DOS Minitel program on my PC to a emulate the Minitel graphics.

Those were the days when the BBS was king for online addicts like myself. I tried every online service available at least once. Those were the days of Genie, Compuserve, The Well, The Source and many others I’ve forgotten.