FCC OKs broadband for airplanes

The Federal Communications Commission has granted ViaSat blanket authority for domestic operation of up to 1,000 earth stations aboard commercial aircraft. The agency said the earth stations will provide Aeronautical Mobile Satellite Service using standard Ku-band frequency ranges to link with leased transponders on the AMC-6 satellite.

According to FCC documents, the ViaSat aircraft earth stations will provide two-way broadband communications for passengers and aircrew members aboard commercial airliners and private business jets, with access to email, the Internet and corporate virtual networks.

ViaSat said its planned AMSS system, dubbed Arclight, is designed to provide two-way broadband data communications via satellite radio links between aircraft earth stations and ground earth stations.

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