Aircell seeks $65m in BTOP funds for “unserved” airspace

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 appropriated $7.2 billion and directed the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Commerce to expand broadband access to unserved and underserved communities across the USA to “increase jobs, spur investments in technology and infrastructure and provide long-term economic benefits”.

The result is the RUS Broadband Inititiatves Programme (BIP) and the NTIA Broadband Technology Opportunities Programme (BTOP).

According to the government’s “Broadband USA” portal, Aircell is applying for over $65 million to “improve public safety and consumer access to in-flight Internet service in the largely unserved US airspace” via its air-to-ground broadband network. Here’s a screen grab from the site. 

Aircell app.JPG

Well now, that’s an interesting interpretation of “unserved” community. I wonder if Row 44 will also apply (Hughes has submitted a few apps but I can’t see anything about in-flight broadband).

Thanks @broadbandtrends on Twitter for the info!

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4 Responses to Aircell seeks $65m in BTOP funds for “unserved” airspace

  1. Doug September 17, 2009 at 11:52 am #

    I saw an article yesterday that Aircell is laying off 100 people and their leadership has changed. What’s up with that?

  2. Phil September 18, 2009 at 5:03 pm #

    They have a new CEO so I wouldn’t be suprised if things were changing internally. Mr Lemay is known for this.

  3. Bob September 25, 2009 at 3:23 pm #

    Bigger issue is the idea of laying people off but still asking the government for money. Think about what Aircell is likely to do, since it is funded by VCs: it wants to sell or go public, and then make a TON of money. Nothing wrong with that bit of capitalism, but I don’t think government bailouts should enable VC investors to get even richer…

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