Mais notícias sobre utilização de telefones a bordo dos aviões

São cada vez mais as notícias de testes e implementação da utilização de telefones (e internet) a bordo de aviões. Desta vez, do Estados Unidos vem a notícia que a FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) aprovou a utilização desta tecnologia em alguns modelos de aviões. Mas nada melhor do que ler a notícia original.

American Airlines’ plans to offer in-flight broadband access across certain transcontinental flights took a major step forward yesterday. Aircell, the airline’s in-flight Internet access provider, has received two important approvals from the FAA, and is now cleared to begin rolling out its service.

The new permits cover device manufacturing and functionality, so Aircell is now cleared to both produce and deploy its technology on any aircraft that’s cleared to use it. Currently, Aircell is focusing on AA’s Boeing 767-200 transcontinental fleet, and has additional plans to work with Virgin America. Aircell has stressed, however, that its technology is not airline-specific, and can theoretically be deployed by any US airline.

We’ve previously reported on Aircell’s plans to offer its service via a series of 92 cellular towers scattered across the 48 states. Access points will be spaced evenly throughout the aircraft, and will communicate using the 3GHz spectrum. A set of three antennas (one on top of the aircraft and two on the bottom) will keep the plane communicating with terra firma.

Aircell’s service (marketed under the name of GoGo) will offer complimentary access to and all information pertaining to landings, takeoffs, and fare prices. Passengers will also be able to peruse the Wall Street Journal Digest Edition and log into corporate VPNs (virtual private networks). VoIP services will not be available. The ban on cellular voice and VoIP services while in flight should reduce network traffic, improve overall service latency, and most importantly, prevent a number of in-flight homicides that might otherwise occur.

Aircell’s guidance on what kind of connection speed and reliability passengers can expect has been a bit vague. Certain PR announcements have referred to Aircell’s service as providing “seamless coverage over the continental U.S. above 10,000 feet,” while others have referenced a “robust Internet experience” at 30,000 to 35,000 feet. The company claims that it’s still flying across the US on various test patterns to tweak access speeds and improve the overall user experience.

There are a number of questions still to be answered about Aircell’s GoGo service. AA has yet to comment on how much the service will cost, and Aircell itself has been vague on exactly what kind of speeds and latencies users can expect. Similarly, neither company has set a firm date on which to launch the service, though both have stated it will debut within 2008. By the end of the year, flying transcontinental won’t necessarily mean spending five to six hours out of touch with the outside world, but it’s up to you to determine whether or not that’s a good thing or a bad thing.”