FCC eases licensing for in-flight Internet gear on aircraft

The agency has set up a routine approval process for systems that connect planes to the Internet via satellite

The FCC is making it easier to launch in-flight Internet services on planes in the U.S. by setting up a standard approval process for onboard systems that use satellites.

Since 2001, the Federal Communications Commission has approved some satellite based Internet systems for airplanes, called Earth Stations Aboard Aircraft (ESAA), on an ad-hoc basis. On Friday, the agency said it had formalized ESAA as a licensed application, which should cut in half the time required to get services approved, according to the FCC.

In-flight Internet access is typically delivered via Wi-Fi in an airplane's cabin, but that access requires a wireless link outside the plane to the larger Internet. Some services make that link via special 3G cellular towers on the ground, while others exchange their data over satellites. Row44, a provider of satellite-based in-flight Wi-Fi, names Southwest Airlines and Allegiant Air as customers on its website.

Under the new rules, all it will take for airlines to implement onboard ESAA systems is to test the technology, establish that it meets FCC standards and doesn't interfere with any aircraft systems, and get Federal Aviation Administration approval, the FCC said. The result should be quicker deployments and more competition among in-flight Internet systems, according to the agency.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentmobileregulationinternetindustry verticalstransportationInternet service providersU.S. Federal Communications Commission

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?