Editor’s comment: Indoors – out

Inflight editor Alexander Preston summarises the latest happenings across IFEC and cabin technology

Boeing is urging the Federation Communications Commission (FCC) to treat the inside of large commercial aircraft as an indoor location for the purpose of the provision of connectivity.

According to a filing issued by Bruce A. Olcott, Counsel to The Boeing Company, “there is a substantial need to make additional spectrum available for unlicensed use, particularly in frequency bands below 24 GHz where transmitting equipment may already be available for use with only minor modifications.

“This need for additional unlicensed spectrum is particularly critical inside large commercial aircraft, which are rapidly becoming the single most-congested wireless operating environment in the world, with hundreds of seated passengers using personal wireless devices to simultaneously access video, audio and internet content over the same in-flight wireless network.”

Having met FCC representatives in early April, Boeing is pressing the commission to act before spectrum becomes a scarcity stressing that “passengers on commercial aircraft are continually demanding more multimedia services at higher definition from their favoured air carriers requiring access to larger amounts of unlicensed frequencies. To assist its airline customers in meeting this consumer demand, aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing are increasing the capacity and capabilities of wireless unlicensed systems on each new model of commercial aircraft.”

Despite these concerns, airlines continue to install IFEC solutions, wired or otherwise for both crew and passengers.
Connectivity may be becoming a hygiene factor, but unless action is taken to free up spectrum, it runs the risk of being stymied.


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