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FCC Launches Framework for In-Flight Broadband

The FCC has established
standards for onboard airplane Internet service.

The Report and Order regularizes what had been
an ad hoc process, where the FCC had given various companies permission to
mount satellite antennas on the outside of planes and operate them as Earth
Stations Aboard Aircraft (ESAA) for two-way, in-flight and on the runway

commissioners voted to make ESAA a licensed application for fixed satellite
service (in this case fixed to planes relaying the signals to satellites in a
fixed geostationary orbit, but definitely broadband on the move).

will now be able to test systems according to FCC standards and, if they pass
muster -- as in don't interfere with aircraft systems -- get FAA approval.

FCC says the move should make the application process 50% faster and promote
the widespread availability to aircraft passengers, one of a number of
underserved populations the FCC is trying to get on the broadband-wagon.
"Whether traveling for work or leisure, Americans increasingly expect broadband
access everywhere they go," Genachowski said in a statement.