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Ofcom approves high speed internet on boats and planes

Women, children, and video streamers first
Tue Jan 21 2014, 13:34
Airplanes taxing before take-off

UK COMMUNICATIONS REGULATOR Ofcom has given its nod of approval to the use of high speed internet on airplanes and ships.

This should appeal to anyone who wants to use a sea voyage or plane flight to work, watch movies, make trolling comments, ogle things or update social media accounts.

According to Ofcom this can involve an earth station mounted on the vehicle in question to access satellite broadband. As well as having appeal for planes and ships, Ofcom said that it might also be used on trains and coaches.

Land based earth stations will not need spectrum licenses, it added, but will have to be licensed by Ofcom. Aircraft and ships will need special treatment, but according to Ofcom they will not be charged extra.

"We want travellers to benefit from superfast broadband on the move at the kind of speeds they expect from their connection at home," said group director of spectrum at Ofcom Philip Marnick.

"Today's decision means that operators of trains, boats and planes will soon be able to begin the process of making these valuable services available to their passengers."

The onboard stations will provide connections that are 10 times faster than the speeds that are presently available. Ofcom reckons that the first commercial uses of the system will appear before the end of this year.

Earth stations on mobile platforms (ESOMPs) will operate on four frequency bands, and Ofcom said that proposals to limit control over their use, such as their exemption from the need to have a Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006 licence, were not rejected by stakeholders.

"Earth stations will allow much faster data speeds, as Ofcom is making available a relatively large amount of high-frequency spectrum for their use," explained the body. "This will provide a considerable amount of data capacity." µ


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