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Broadband for commercial airlines

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: 03 April, 2008  (New Product)
Aircell had announced the completion and full operational readiness of the nation’s first wireless network designed specifically to provide mobile broadband services to commercial and business airline passengers while flying over the U.S.
The company’s wireless network enables full corporate and personal email, VPN access, web surfing and much more. Aircell a 16-year leader in business aviation communications, now marks another historical milestone in the company’s history by placing into full operational service the nation’s first mobile broadband network built for aircraft operating in the continental U.S.

In January of this year, the company completed its nationwide wireless Air-To-Ground (ATG) network, bringing for the first time coast-to-coast, border-to-border, mobile broadband coverage over the U.S. to commercial airlines and business aircraft. Unlike all other wireless networks in the nation, the Aircell network can provide air travelers with seamless connectivity when using their inflight mobile broadband Internet service, called Gogo - a first for the communications industry and a first for the U.S. aerospace industry. The world’s largest airline, American Airlines and one of America’s newest airlines, Virgin America, have already signed agreements with Aircell to deploy its service in 2008.

In addition to completing and successfully deploying its nationwide network, Aircell successfully confirmed the reach and strength of its network by following up its inaugural cross-country flight, where broadband connectivity provided Web browsing and secure emailing capabilities throughout the flight, with months of further test flights and network operation against stringent performance criteria.

“We are open for business and ready to help our airline partners deliver a service that three quarters of a billion passengers can use while flying over the U.S. each year,” said Jack Blumenstein, CEO of Aircell. “Air travel over the U.S. is entering another golden age. The experience of air travel will continue to evolve with new broadband services and capabilities,” said Blumenstein.

As part of its national ATG network build-out, the company constructed cell sites throughout the country in an extraordinarily short period of time. Placement of cell sites ranged from windy, snow topped mountain peaks at 12,000 feet to remote desert terrain below sea level. Despite challenging conditions, network completion was accomplished far ahead of time requirements set by the company’s FCC license agreement. The first site was activated on August 25, 2007 and the final site, which finalized the nationwide network, went live on January 29th, just five months later.

“These major milestones have clearly set Aircell apart from other operators and one that has reinforced its position as the industry leader as well as the premier connectivity solution in the air,” said Joe Cruz, SVP and CTO of Aircell.

Aircell continues to fly aircraft over the U.S. to test and optimize its network ensuring its airline partners and passengers are provided with a seamless and truly outstanding customer experience. “There is a lot of air space over the U.S., and our team continues to fly to all corners to ensure no matter where a commercial or private plane travels, the connectivity is seamless,” said Cruz. “It is exciting to have been part of history in the making now that our network is tested and fully operational,” Cruz continued.

A premier communications provider for the business aviation industry, Aircell has broadened its technology expertise by designing and pioneering ATG communications technologies. With unsurpassed expertise in both satellite and ATG technologies, the company has confirmed development of a solution that is here today and built for the future demands of its airline partners and their flying passengers.

In January, Aircell and American Airlines completed the first-ever installation of the ATG technology on a commercial aircraft and is now completing installation on the remaining 14 aircraft which is expected to go live in 2008. Service on 15 American Airlines aircraft is expected to go live in the first half of 2008. Aircell is also working with Virgin America to bring mobile broadband service to all of the carriers’ passengers in 2008 and will set another first by integrating with Virgin America’s In-Flight-Entertainment (IFE) system, Red.
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