US to ease rules on onboard internet use

The United States Federal Communications Commission is to ease restrictions on Internet use in commercial airlines to  help speed the deployment of Internet services onboard aircraft.

The FCC’s is planning to update and streamline regulatory requirements across the agency by formalising rules on how Earth Stations Aboard Aircraft (ESAA)—earth stations on aircraft – communicate with Fixed-Satellite Service (FSS) geostationary-orbit (GSO) space stations.

ESAA as a licensed application in the FSS and the move will establish a regulatory framework for processing applications while ensuring other radio service operations are protected from harmful interference. Installed on the exterior of the aircraft, the satellite antenna carries the signal to and from the aircraft, providing two-way, in-flight broadband services to passengers and flight crews.

Two mobile applications in the FSS—Earth Stations on board Vessels (ESV) and Vehicle-Mounted Earth Stations (VMES)—provide satellite communications with vessels and land vehicles. ESAA is the third leg of mobile applications in the FSS. The satellite antenna will carry the signal to and from the aircraft, and mobile technologies such as WiFi will provide communications within the aircraft’s hull.

The FCC move now means rather than having to license on-board systems on an ad hoc basis, airlines will be able to test systems that meet FCC standards, establish that they do not interfere with aircraft systems and secure Federal Aviation Administration approval.

“By reducing administrative burdens on both applicants and the Commission, the new rules should allow the Commission to process ESAA applications up to 50 per cent faster, enhancing competition in an important sector of the mobile telecommunications market in the United States and promoting the widespread availability of Internet access to aircraft passengers,” an FCC statement explained.

Read More: US to study electronic gadget use on aircraft

Posted in Avionics, CAAs/ANSPs, News

Comments are closed.