FCC Pushes for Expanded In-Flight Broadband


Americans who fly regularly will be able to get better broadband speeds at 30,000 feet than in their homes. Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed an expansion of the availability of in-flight broadband connectivity to airline passengers.

The Commission proposes to establish an air-ground mobile broadband service, using a ground-based network to communicate with planes, by taking advantage of technical innovations to expand sharing of certain spectrum among users. Expanded availability of in-flight Wi-Fi will help meet demand from travelers to connect to a full range of communications services while flying in the contiguous United States.

More options for in-flight broadband are likely to increase competition, improve the quality of service, and lead to lower prices. Improved connectivity benefits business and leisure travelers alike in their desire for ubiquitous broadband access to keep in touch with work, family, and friends while flying. The Commission proposes to establish this air-ground mobile broadband service as a secondary allocation in the 14.0-14.5 GHz band, the same band used by satellite companies for Fixed-Satellite Service (FSS) uplinks on a primary basis and by certain Federal services on a secondary basis. The service would be required to protect primary FSS in the band from harmful interference and to coordinate with other users in the band.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Airlines, Regulation, Wireless