FCC Grants Temporary License to Operator of Former AT&T/Claircom Network

 - February 1, 2007, 10:59 AM

Sky Way Communications has obtained special temporary authorization from the FCC to begin testing planned upgrades for services based on the AT&T/Claircom air-to-ground network, decommissioned in 2002 in a cost-cutting move by AT&T Wireless. Sky Way hopes to develop a broadband datalink network operating at 15 mbps that could broadcast video-surveillance data and other flight information to the ground, as well as commercial voice calls. The company is hoping to convince the Department of Homeland Security that the datalink installed in airliners could help prevent future terrorist attacks. The operating license allows the company to begin reactivating the former AT&T towers used to support airborne services. The company recently signed a contract with Southeast Airlines that includes installation of Sky Way telephones aboard the low-fare carrier’s MD-80 and DC-9s.