If regulators approve a Qualcomm proposal to use satellites for in-flight Internet, the wi-fly speeds could soon match speeds on the Earth.
According to numerous press reports, Qualcomm is currently pushing the Federal Communications Commission to free up airwaves used by the satellite industry for commercial use. However, it is admitted that the system is still years away – even if the Federal Communications Commission approves it, the company will have plenty of work to do before using it.
Qualcomm pointed out in its regulatory filing that mobile broadband demand on board aircraft was exploding, even more than it is on the ground. The wireless-technology company complained that modern in-flight communication systems are either too expensive, or too slow to satisfy the demand of mobile users, because people today are spoiled by terrestrial 4G speeds.
The industry experts admit that the move could revolutionize in-flight entertainment, because it would practically allow everyone to stream whenever and whatever they want. Taking into account the fact that airline companies aren’t exactly known for good taste when it comes to entertainment, high speed wi-fly could be appreciated by frequent fliers. In addition, it could also allow business travellers to participate in video conferences while flying over the Atlantic. This will surely increase productivity, though annoying everyone else on board in the process.
Anyway, satellite companies are not actually happy about the prospect of more competition, especially from such a heavyweight as Qualcomm. They insist they still need their airwaves and claim that Qualcomm’s gear would interfere with their own services.