by Mike Masnick

One Step Closer To Air-To-Ground Communications... But No Boeing

from the hiding-and-waiting dept

A number of companies have been waiting to bid on FCC spectrum concerning air-to-ground communications from airplanes, and now that the first round of bids are in, there's some surprise that Boeing has decided to sit this round out. As Glenn Fleishman notes, they may simply have decided that the bidding will go too high to make any money -- and they're already too focused on their satellite efforts to waste time with a second method. Fleishman's other suggestion is that Boeing knows that whoever wins the bid is likely to come to them anyway for a partnership, so why not just sit back and wait, and not get caught in auction madness. Either way, we're that much closer to no longer being quite so "disconnected" when we fly any more. While there are some flights (mainly long, international ones) that have internet access, it's far from common, and this spectrum could shake things up a bit. Among the interesting bidders is JetBlue. It's been surprising that JetBlue hasn't yet jumped on the internet-in-the-sky bandwagon. They've been promising to go there for years, but never seemed to do anything. Apparently, they felt that things like Boeing's Connexion offering were too expensive -- but that this new spectrum could be useful. What would be interesting here is if they kept all the spectrum to themselves, giving themselves quite the differentiator, especially for domestic US business travelers.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    PFC Broetje, Apr 4th, 2006 @ 8:13pm

    Can't wait

    Its really annoying, their stupid rules that you cant use cellphones or internet on airplanes, which there isnt really any reason not to.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Tom, Apr 4th, 2006 @ 10:28pm

    Over a hundred ticking timebombs

    If there was even the slightest chance that cell phones interfered with avionics, they wouldn't let you keep your phone and HOPE you wouldn't turn it on. They would confiscate your phone at the gate if they thought your using a cell would interfere with the aircraft.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2006 @ 4:22am


    Im a pilot for a small charter company in australia, you know when you get a phone call and it makes your speakers beep? When people leave their mobiles on it does the same thing, unbelivably anoying. On more then one occasion i have been told by the controler that he is getting mobile interfearance, and sure enough one of the tools in the back who thinks i wont notice, has his phone out.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Joe, Apr 5th, 2006 @ 4:24am

    Re: Can't wait

    and just how do you propose to 'use cellphones or internet' at 30,000 ft? Which network will you connect to? Terrestrial cellular networks are not designed for air communications and you'll have problems with WiFi too. I think these rules protect the stupid.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    PFC Broetje, Apr 5th, 2006 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Re: Can't wait

    They have a relay with the aircrafts, who ever wins this 'bid', i guess they would probably use a satalite or somthing

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Joe, Apr 6th, 2006 @ 4:46am

    that's what Boeing do alright for Connexion (internet only I think). And there are trials in France to allow you to use your GSM phone on board a plane with a base station built in.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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