Inexpensive in-flight broadband Internet on airplanes coming by 2006

“Want to surf the Net and phone the office at 35,000 feet? High-speed Internet and cell phone service in airplanes moved big steps closer to reality Wednesday, with regulators paving the way for both offerings in as soon as two years. In-flight broadband is further along than cell phone service. The Federal Communications Commission voted Wednesday to rearrange a chunk of spectrum to permit broadband in the skies by 2006. An auction for companies to bid for the airwaves will be held next near,” Paul Davidson reports for USA Today.

“Today, many domestic flights offer instant messaging, text messaging and e-mail for $4 to $10 a flight. Broadband, however, would let passengers shop online and tap into corporate networks. In-flight broadband is available today only through satellite-based systems on international flights because the service is pricey and requires heavy equipment that would be cumbersome for narrow-body domestic airlines. The new services would cost as little as $5 to $10 a flight,” Davidson reports.

“The FCC has long feared that letting passengers use their own cell phones would cause interference with hundreds of antenna towers on the ground, clogging networks. But new technology allows signals to be sent to a small airplane antenna, which would beam the signals to designated on-ground towers on special channels,” Davidson reports. “Even if the FCC eases its rules, the Federal Aviation Administration would also have to lift its ban on airplane cell phone use. The FAA worries about interference with navigation equipment. Also, airlines that install antenna systems would have to find a way to share revenue with cell phone carriers that typically offer flat-rate plans. There are also social concerns. ‘Many passengers don’t relish the idea of sitting next to someone yelling into their cell phones for an entire six-hour flight,’ FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein says.”

Full article here.


  1. most cell phones do not have 6 hour batteries…. but I agree…. who wants to fly and listen to the guy/gal next to you jab for an hour about his/her back hair? Not me! I think we need to have some places where cell phone just don’t work…. 1st place… BATHROOMS! you are taking a dump…. put the phone on vibrate or turn it off and do your “business”…. not business.

    Broad band on planes sounds good though. It would be nice for frequent flyers to get free or reduced rate broad band too (not a freq flyer…. so this would not do me any good.)

    The Dude abides.

  2. Why doesn’t the FCC lift the ban and allow just wirless broadband in the air and keep the rule about cell phones. Even if they had to have new bill passed, i think most people would agree, talking and being able to do busniess is nice and would be nice on an airplane, but you really can’t judge it intil it happens to you! Amgin getting stuck beside some loud mouth loser for god noes how many hours. Think about that!

  3. Oh great……
    Here it comes………….
    The newest social epidemic…….

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A I R R A G E!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I can hear it now, from across the aisle:

    “Dude, either shut the fuck up, or I’m gonna shove that phone so far up your ass the sun won’t hit it, even at 35K”

    And the upcoming sales pitch by all tickets agents:

    “And Sir, we now offer In-flight phone-o-rectomy, only $49.99, added to your ticket price, and YOU keep the (shit-covered) phone as a momento! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” /> Can also be purchased after boarding, for only $99.99!

  4. That reminds me of last week at a public bathroom:

    I was barely seated when I heard a voice from the next stall say…

    “Hi, how are you?”
    I’m not accustomed to having conversations with strangers in bathrooms but I was nervous so I said…

    “Doin’ just fine!”

    And the other person says…

    “So what are you up to?” (tinkle, tinkle, tinkle)

    Oh fuck. I say…

    “Ummm, I’m like you, just traveling!”
    want to get out as fast as I can, then…

    “Can I come over?”

    Holy shit. But I�m polite…
    “No, I’m busy.”

    Then…I hear

    “Look, I’ll have to call you back. A fuckwit in another stall keeps
    keeps answering my questions.”

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