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FAA Approves High-Speed Internet System for Jets

Aircell Inc. received certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for a high-speed Internet system designed for business-aviation jets. The Broomfield-based company announced Thursday the FAA gave full approval to the system, which lets passengers use their own Wi-Fi-enabled devices such as laptops, smartphones and PDAs to surf the Internet, and to send and receive e-mail with attachments at full mobile speeds. The system is the first that provides “a true high-speed Internet experience that equals what passengers are accustomed to on the ground, while being small and light enough to fit on virtually any business aircraft,” according to a news release. The company said it finished a testing program for the new system three months ahead of schedule. The first installation was completed by Midcoast Aviation aboard a Bombardier Challenger 6005 aircraft. Airlines representing more than half of the North American market -including American Airlines, Virgin America, Delta Air Lines and AirTran Airways – are using the commercial airline version of the service, called Gogo Inflight Internet. Northwest Airlines, Air Canada and United Airlines plan to add the service. In June 2006, Aircell agreed to pay $31.7 million for a 3MHz air-to-ground spectrum in a Federal Communications Commission auction in June. In November 2006, the FCC gave AirCell approval to provide broadband service to U.S. airlines.

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