The Federal Communications Commission yesterday granted Boeing Co. a license to provide high-speed Internet access on airplane flights. The license enables the aircraft manufacturer to offer passengers in-flight Web access, television reception and e-mail while flying over the United States.
The broadband license removes at least one hurdle preventing Boeing from offering its planned Connexion by Boeing in-flight Internet service.
The company earlier this year announced its intention to offer the service, in conjunction with American, Delta, United and Lufthansa airlines, by mid-2002. However, Boeing's three U.S.-based carrier partners backed out of the alliance last month and said they would not implement the service, citing the effect of Sept. 11 on their businesses. Only Germany's Lufthansa still plans to introduce the service, sometime late next year or in early 2003.
Given these developments, Boeing has said, it is considering retooling the satellite-based Internet service for military use.