FCC Continues Plan to Make In-Flight WiFi Cheaper and Faster

Outgoing FCC chairman Julius Genachowski is leaving his post sometime in the near future, but he’s no lame duck; according to the New York Times, Genachowski and the rest of the FCC are working hard on making in-flight WiFi cheaper, faster, and more readily available.

The FCC voted to begin the process of using newly-available 500MHz spectrum to bolster in-flight WiFi. The process will likely years, but the end result will ideally be in-flight WiFi speeds that rival those that people enjoy at home and in various coffee shops and other restaurants.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski

Unlike airplane-to-satellite Internet service, which is expensive and relatively slow, the ground-to-airplane setup that the FCC is working on would cost less and offer much better speeds--up to 300Gbps combined “in combined service to all aircraft aloft”.

Currently, in-flight wireless is often more trouble than it’s worth. Between the agonizingly slow speeds, sky-high prices (pun intended, as always), and the fact that you can only use your devices for a portion of the flight anyway, sometimes it’s just better to crack open a book and wait until you’re on the ground to attempt any online work.

“The reality is that we expect and often need to be able to get online 24/7, at home, in an office or on a plane,” said Genachowski. “This will enable business and leisure travelers aboard aircraft in the United States to be more productive and have more choices in entertainment, communications and social media, and it could lower prices.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.