FCC Grants Boeing Broadband License


Thursday, December 27th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


SEATTLE (AP) _ The Federal Communications Commission has granted Boeing Co. a license to provide high-speed Internet access on airplane flights, paving the way for the company's planned in-flight Internet service, Connexion by Boeing.

The license gives Boeing permission to offer high-speed connections so passengers can use the Web, watch television or check e-mail while flying over the United States.

Still, the future of Boeing's Connexion service remains unclear. Last month, Boeing's three partners in the venture _ American, Delta and United airlines _ suspended plans to introduce Connexion by mid-2002, citing the effects of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The attacks left travelers jittery and cost airlines billions of dollars.

Only the German carrier Lufthansa is still committed to Connexion. It plans to launch the service late next year or in early 2003.

Meanwhile, Boeing has said it is considering retooling the satellite-based system for military use. Boeing Chairman Phil Condit told The Associated Press last month that the company may now focus on Connexion's ability to keep military and government personnel in touch in the air, even during a national disaster.

``The ability to get broadband data, TV, video, on and off of airplanes, is clearly something that is broadly of interest to the government,'' Condit said.