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Commission Proposes to Expand the Availability of In-Flight Wi-Fi

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Released: May 9, 2013

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th Street, S.W.


Washington, D. C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.
See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).



May 9, 2013
Neil Grace: (202) 418-0506


Seeks Comment on Innovative Use of Spectrum for Air-Ground Mobile Broadband Service
Washington, D.C. – The Federal Communications Commission today took action to expand the
availability of in-flight broadband connectivity to airline passengers. The Commission proposes to
establish an air-ground mobile broadband service, using a ground-based network to communicate with
planes, by taking advantage of technical innovations to expand sharing of certain spectrum among users.
Expanded availability of in-flight Wi-Fi will help meet demand from travelers to connect to a full range
of communications services while flying in the contiguous United States.
More options for in-flight broadband are likely to increase competition, improve the quality of service,
and lead to lower prices. Improved connectivity benefits business and leisure travelers alike in their
desire for ubiquitous broadband access to keep in touch with work, family, and friends while flying.
The Commission proposes to establish this air-ground mobile broadband service as a secondary allocation
in the 14.0-14.5 GHz band, the same band used by satellite companies for Fixed-Satellite Service (FSS)
uplinks on a primary basis and by certain Federal services on a secondary basis. The service would be
required to protect primary FSS in the band from harmful interference and to coordinate with other users
in the band.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Notice) proposes technical rules to assure that the service’s
operations will not cause harmful interference. It also seeks comment on licensing rules by which the
Commission would license the service in either two 250-megahertz blocks, one 500-megahertz block, or
some other spectrum block size. The Notice proposes to award these licenses by auction.
Action by the Commission May 9, 2013, by Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 13-66). Chairman
Genachowski, Commissioners Clyburn, Rosenworcel, and Pai. Separate statements issued by Chairman
Genachowski, Commissioners Clyburn, Rosenworcel, and Pai. Commissioner McDowell not
Docket No.: GN Docket No. 13-114.
– FCC –
For further information, contact Neil Grace, Office of Media Relations at (202) 418-0506; (202) 418-0431
(TTY); email:
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