Internet access on airplanes is quickly becoming a reality. While nothing more than a novelty to some, those who travel all the time, especially people who's work requires them to travel, may desire it greatly, perhaps eventually becoming a necessity. Two days ago, the Federal Communications Commission in the U.S. announced that the frequencies currently used by the airplane embedded phones will be auctioned off for the purpose of high-speed Internet... 30,000 feet in the air. Extra revenue is needed by the airline companies to continue operating, and the under-utilized airline phone system is a perfect way to use already-implemented technology to provide new services to their customers.
”The FCC proposed setting $5 million as the minimum the auction must raise for the sale to be completed. Cingular Wireless, the biggest U.S. wireless carrier, declined to comment on whether it would bid.”
Another interesting note, this also brought the FCC to debate allowing customers to use their cell phones while in flight. Typically, cell phones must be powered off the entire flight. On a 6 hour flight, that can sometimes be frustrating. Interesting stuff.