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FCC has started auctioning frequencies that will enable airlines to offer in-flight Internet services

Nine companies including including Verizon’s Airfone, JetBlue’s LiveTV, AirCell and Arcadia’s Broadband have qualified to bid for the frequencies that will allow fliers to access the internet and VOIP, in-flight. The auction was initially announced in January and since then the FCC has released various documents outlining the structure and projected process for the event. Participants are bidding on commercial licenses in the 800MHz band in three alternative configurations.

Once FCC approves the two winners, they can start building a service that allows its users to start surfing the Internet, use Instant Messaging, e-mail or even make phone calls using VOIP. The bidding can be tracked at the FCC Spectrum auction site, which at the time of publication is up to $3.5M USD.

Like it or not, these developments have the potential to increase passenger productivity while making for a noisier cabin with simultaneous conversations that might require a new in-flight etiquette.  Now only if they would add AC outlets to every seat, the Chicago to Osaka flight might be a little more tolerable.




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