JetBlue’s planned Fly-Fi in-flight internet service took another small step forward this week. The FCC issued a blanket approval to ViaSat, the provider of the satellite connectivity, permitting the operation of the uplink and control station which will manage the connectivity. The approval was expected, despite protest from competitor Row44, and is a necessary step in bringing the service online. The license covers the operation of ViaSat’s first three satellites in orbit over the USA: ViaSat 1, WildBlue 1 and ANik F2 and is valid for 15 years with the opportunity for extensions.
The Fly-Fi service is still not live, however. This approval was a necessary one but not the only one. The FAA must still approve the on-board hardware before the planes can fly with the service installed. That approval is currently pending (the test flights were completed this summer following a ground test earlier in the Spring), with a ruling hopeful in the next several weeks. This is the same service that will be used on United Airlines’ 737 fleet once it is approved by the FAA.
Baby steps, to be sure, but it is getting closer.
For more about the install process from JetBlue, including a pretty cool video, check out this post on their blog.
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