JetBlue snaps up bandwidth for in-flight services

Telephone? Broadband data? Something more sinister? JetBlue isn't yet saying what subsidiary LiveTV LLC wants to do with its freshly-acquired slice of FCC pie in the 1MHz range. What about live TV, you ask? The obvious answer for such an obviously-named company doesn't seem as obvious when you consider that they already have that angle covered through a deal penned with DirecTV; the spectrum had previously belonged to Verizon's Airfone service, making in-flight phone service more likely. LiveTV paid just $7.02 million for the license at auction -- a far cry from the billions traditional mobile operators have been known to shed on PCS bands, yet they could end up with one of a very small number of services keeping you in touch from the friendly skies. Since LiveTV is a wholly-owned subsidiary, it's possible that they'll be offering service to carriers other than JetBlue. So yes, the much-maligned Airfone appears to be fading away, but with any luck, airlines will be carrying on the time-honored tradition of charging multiple dollars per minute for the privilege of annoying your fellow passengers.

Update: nope, sorry, the slice of spectrum wasn't in fact in the 1MHz band, but was in fact 1MHz in the 800MHz range -- totally different, and much more interesting, if you ask us. LiveTV's license expires in 2010, which means they only have three and a half short years to figure out whatever the hell it is they just invested that 7 million on, and put that spectrum to good use. Thanks, Simon. [FCC PDF]