FCC Adopts Rules for In-Flight Internet Service

Authorizing airlines to test and approve systems


The Federal Communications Commission announced new rules today designed to speed deployment of Internet services on aircraft.

Since 2001, the FCC has authorized a number of companies on a case-by-case basis to offer in-flight Internet service via Earth Stations Aboard Aircraft, which carries two-way signals from an aircraft-mounted antenna to geostationary satellites. The FCC said the new rules define ESAA as a licensed application and sets a framework for processing applications, allowing airlines to test and win approval for systems that meet FCC requirements for not interfering with aircraft systems.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said the new rules will help meet the demands of American travelers, who increasingly expect near ubiquitous broadband access.