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More than 800 planes are to offer high-speed broadband access for passengers by the end of this year.

That is according to research published by the consultancy firm In-Stat, which discovered that the airborne internet market will generate revenues of more than $49 million (£32.5 million) this year alone.

The group predicts that this figure will extend beyond $1 billion annually within the next three years, with the majority of connections being made during long-haul journeys.

An analyst at In-Stat, Daryl Schoolar, commented: "The market is clearly gaining momentum, with deployments escalating in number.

"In-flight broadband faces challenges, however, by the struggling economy."

In-Stat found that there were just 25 passenger aeroplanes around the world with broadband facilities last year.

Earlier this year, United Airlines revealed that it would be making internet access available on some flights between New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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