FCC Formalizes Rules For Satellite-Based Wireless On Planes
The FCC today established formal rules for the approval of certain types of broadband services for aircraft. The new rules apply to satellite-based services such as that offered by Row 44, used by Southwest Airlines. Until today, such services could only be approved on a case-by-case "ad hoc" basis. The new rules streamline the process, making it easier to roll out such services. Such services connect planes to the Internet via space satellites, and can be used to provide a variety of services onboard aircraft, including Wi-Fi Internet connectivity, cellular service, and live television. Rules already exist for competing services that connect planes directly to the ground using a network of cell towers with upward-facing antennas, such as GoGo.