[Excerpt] WASHINGTON — A decision by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to allow the use of Thales FlytLive aeronautical terminals opens the market to a fourth competitive reseller in what is currently the largest regional inflight connectivity market.
Thales announced July 27 that FCC approval was given earlier this month for a commercial service that will launch later this year. Winning FCC approval took three months, Thales said.
The five largest inflight connectivity providers — Gogo, Panasonic Avionics, Global Eagle Entertainment, ViaSat and Inmarsat — all provide internet access on aircraft flying over the United States. Another rising competitor, SmartSky Networks, is building a network of air-to-ground stations throughout the U.S. that is also expected to go live later this year, bringing the number of major service providers in this market to seven.