If you’ve been on a long-haul flight lately, then you may have noticed that in-flight Wi-Fi service is becoming more and more common. But after you pay your extra $10 to $30 for in-flight Wi-Fi, you may be disappointed to realize just how slow that connection can be.
Why is airplane Wi-Fi so slow? Well, don’t blame the airline: it’s not like the flight attendants are standing up at the front torrenting HD seasons of Game of Thrones all day. Instead, your slow in-flight internet is a conscious choice made by the Federal Communications Commission.
Why the FCC cares
The FCC controls communication bands in the United States. Some bands are allocated for radio, while others are allocated to TV networks. And most recently, a slim band was allocated to in-flight internet services like Gogo.
Why the FCC is trying to speed up your internet
Unfortunately, that slim band wasn’t enough to create much competition. Which is why the FCC is actively pursuing the release of another 500MHz of spectrum dedicated solely to ground-to-air wireless services.
That extra 500MHz would be able to encourage new competitors to step in, giving competition to slow, overpriced services like Gogo – the service that most of today’s airlines use.
Although the New York Times reports that the new service won’t be available for a few more years, it feels good to note that we could all be watching HD YouTube videos at blazing speeds anywhere in the world within just a few short years.