In-flight wireless spectrum auction

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: Right now you can't check e-mail or get on the Web at 35,000 feet on a commercial flight anyway. But the FCC is auction off the radio spectrum that will make that happen. Jane Lindholm reports.

JANE LINDHOLM: The frequency is expected to go to AC BidCo. It's a merger of telecom provider AirCell and a New York based holding company.

AirCell already beams in broadband for private airplanes. Glenn Fleishman is the editor of Wi-Fi Networking News. He says AirCell should have an easy transition to the commercial side of things.

GLENN FLEISHMAN:"They've got the technology, the expertise, the operating background."

It will be two years before the company can implement its plans for commercial airlines. But Fleishman says the result could be a lot more airplane chatter.

FLEISHMAN:"Not only will more people be talking using cell phones and laptops using Voice Over IP, but more people will be using Airphone handsets because the service will probably become reasonably affordable."

So you might want to think about investing in a serious pair of earplugs.

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