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FCC Grants Blanket License to ViaSat Airborne Radios

ViaSat announced this week Launch of Improved In-flight Internet Service Draws Closer with FCC License Grant to ViaSat. The FCC granted ViaSat a 15-year, renewable, blanket license for Ka-band aeronautical Earth stations allowing the company to offer its airborne “Exede In The Air” Ka-band service over all 50 U.S. states using ViaSat-1, WildBlue-1, and Anik-F2.

“This is the first license of its kind in the world,” said Mark Dankberg, ViaSat chairman and CEO. “We’re gratified to see the FCC recognizing that the advanced technical design of this equipment is compatible with the operating environment in which our other Exede services successfully operate. Now airlines, and their passengers, will have access to an unprecedented amount of bandwidth. We want to let everyone on board be connected at high speed.”

As I reported last month, ViaSat and Boeing have partnered to provide in-flight Ka-band Internet service. While ViaSat did not mention its new ViaSat-2 satellite in the blanket license announcement, I would expect that once ViaSat-2 is in operation ViaSat will request modification of its license to include it.