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New company to bring in-flight mobile phone and broaband Internet services
Posted on 21-Jul-2004 23:26. | Tags Filed under: News.

As far as everyone is concerned, the FAA still prohibits the use of mobile phones while an aircraft is flying. According to FAA regulation, the FAA allows the use of devices that airline companies deem safe, but still prohibits the use of cellular (mobile) phones:

"The FCC currently prohibits the use and operation of cellular telephones while airborne. Its primary concern is that a cellular telephone, while used airborne, would have a much greater transmitting range than a land mobile unit. This could result in serious interference to transmissions at other cell locations since the system uses the same frequency several times within a market. Since a cellular mobile telephone unit is capable of operating on all assignable cellular frequencies, serious interference may also occur to cellular systems in adjacent markets. The FAA supports this airborne restriction for reasons of potential interference to critical aircraft systems. Currently, the FAA does not prohibit use of cellular telephones in aircraft while on the ground if the operator has determined that they will not interfere with the navigation or communication system of the aircraft on which they are to be used. An example might be their use at the gate or during an extended wait on the ground, while awaiting a gate, when specifically authorized by the captain. A cellular telephone will not be authorized for use while the aircraft is being taxied for departure after leaving the gate"

However, Airbus, SITA INC and Tenzing will form a new company to provide services that allow passengers to keep in touch via their own mobile phones, laptops and PDAs in flight.

According to the companies, the portfolio of solutions to be offered will meet passengers' expectations to be able to use their own devices and to be billed through their normal mobile operator or Internet Service Provider (ISP). Typical international roaming rates will apply for mobile use and laptop and PDA connectivity will be charged on a usage basis.

The advantage to airlines is the availability of a cost-effective, evolutionary and commercially viable path for full bi-directional broadband communication to and from each aircraft. The services, to be available on Airbus and Boeing aircraft, will be based on technology that offers airlines a minimal up-front capital investment, a straightforward up-grade path to new services, and low overall operating costs.

It's not clear if this company will require any special type of mobile phone, or if new aircrafts will have better protection against interference.

More information:

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