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FCC Smooths the Path For Airlines' In-Flight Internet 93

Posted by timothy
from the paving-the-path-wouldn't-make-sense dept.
The Washington Post reports on a development that may push Internet access on commercial aircraft from a pleasant luxury (but missing on most U.S. domestic flights) to commonplace. Writes the Post: "The Federal Communications Commission on Friday approved an application process for airlines to obtain broadband Internet licenses aboard their planes. Previously, airlines were granted permission on an ad hoc basis. Airlines need the FCC’s permission to tap into satellite airwaves while in flight that enable passengers to access the Internet. They also need permission from the Federal Aviation Administration, which oversees the safety of inflight Internet systems." I hope that on-board Internet not only becomes the default, but that free advertising-backed access does, too; especially for short flights, the "24-hour pass" paid access I've seen on United and Delta is tempting, but too pricey.
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FCC Smooths the Path For Airlines' In-Flight Internet

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  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Saturday December 29, 2012 @12:46AM (#42417675)

    I seem to recall that mobile-phone providers were worried about in-flight use of phones because it could cause a mess with the networks if thousands of customers were hopping cell towers at 500+ mph, instead of at usual walking/subway/biking/driving speeds. One per plane would presumably not cause the same problem.

  • by Miamicanes (730264) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @01:34AM (#42417915)

    The videos had forced interactivity (hence, their dependence upon Flash features that Android didn't support). It would stream, then pause and force you to make a choice, like "Which delicious menu item should our hero Jose order?", then made you watch more, then asked a final question you had to get right to prove you watched the video, or it would make you watch it again. (I heard somebody with a laptop at another table angrily complaining about it)

  • by Bender0x7D1 (536254) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @02:02AM (#42418031)

    Yes, it is slow. When I have used it, it gave me slightly better than dial-up speeds and, on occasion, I would lose connectivity for a few minutes. Basically, good enough for email and light surfing. I also downloaded a few PDFs.

    On the other hand, I am sitting 7 miles in the air, moving at several hundred miles an hour and able to access the Internet! Sure, it isn't a great connection, but I'm 7 miles in the air - so I think it's pretty sweet.

  • by shitzu (931108) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @02:27AM (#42418117)

    Batteries lasting a couple of days vs one has nothing to do with digital vs analog. I have had a digital (GSM) phone with a battery that lasts for two weeks easily. Batteries these days don't last more than a day because of those gigaherzes of cpu to power, inches of screen to light and constant communications for smartness.
    And by the way - GSM goes easily to 35k feet (11km) - if there are no obstrucions - you know - like in the AIR. We use a ferry to travel from Tallinn (Estonia) to Helsinki (Finland) and only right in the middle of this ~80 KM journey is there no cell reception from either shore. I would extrapolate that at least 30 km (3 times the height of commercial air traffic) is easily doable.
    Cell phone reception only sucks if you have buildings or plants in the way. Or a mountain.

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