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Wireless Access Coming To The Skies

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The FCC has long fought the airline industry over providing cellular access in flights, but their stamp of approval for in-flight WiFi has yielded a product announcement for this service.

Wireless Access Coming To The Skies
Wireless Access Coming To The Skies

Wireless provider AirCell will extend its Internet service to American Airlines beginning in 2008. AirCell won the FCC auction for an exclusive broadband frequency license in 2006.

No one is discussing the cost of the service yet. AirCell and American plan to test the service in some of the long-haul Boeing 767-200s the airline uses for its transcontinental flights.

There is only one cloud in the otherwise sunny picture for in-flight Net access. When the FCC approved in-flight WiFi over the US, they also decreed VoIP access should be blocked.

For anyone who may have hoped a headset and wireless in-flight access would let them give their Skype or other VoIP calling service a workout, it looks like AirCell will have to block that traffic. The FCC has long been against in-flight cellular service, so they aren’t about to allow an end run by VoIP here.

At least online advertisers will be able to manage their campaigns while cruising at 35,000 feet.

Wireless Access Coming To The Skies
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