Global spectrum approved for airline broadband

The International Telecommunications Union has agreed to a global frequency spectrum for a Boeing-backed airline broadband...

The International Telecommunications Union has agreed to global frequency spectrum for a Boeing-backed airline broadband service and for GPS satellites.

Besides gaining global spectrum for wireless Lans that operate in the 5-GHz spectrum band, a new satellite spectrum for airline passenger internet service marketed by Boeing and new frequencies for the Global Positioning System satellite navigation system were also approved at the ITU's World Radiocommunications Conference, which ended last Friday.

The WRC approved use of the 14.0-GHz-14.5 GHz frequency band on a global basis for the Connexion by Boeing airline passenger broadband internet service. Scott Carson, Connexion by Boeing president, said the WRC action "paves the way for global introduction of our high-speed in-flight connectivity service beginning next year".

Scandinavian Airlines System will also offer Connexion by Boeing on 11 of its long-range aircraft.

The US gained the new frequencies in the 1164-KHz-1215-KHz band for a second civil signal for its next generation of GPS satellites, according to Scott Pace, NASA's chief technologist for space communications.

Pace said the new frequencies for GPS as well as a spectrum allocation for the Galileo satellite navigation system backed by the European Union turned into an "enormously political issue" at the WRC. EU member states pushed a proposal that would have required the two satellite navigation systems to go through a complex co-ordination process. The WRC agreed to apply this co-ordination to future satellite navigation systems but not GPS or Galileo.

Bob Brewin writes for Computerworld

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