In-Flight Web Startup Secures Funds

By Tish Drake | September 15, 2008
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Wi-SKY LLC, Richmond, Va., said last week it secured an infusion of private equity funding, a move the company said will support final development and the 2009 rollout of its in-flight broadband service. The exact amount of the funding was not disclosed. The funding will bankroll the company’s acquisition of proprietary technology from DataRunway, Inc., Cupertino, Calif., a broadband radio development company. "Airline passengers are much closer to the day when they’ll be able to surf any size Internet site, transfer large data files and engage in interactive applications while traveling at 550 mph at 40,000 ft.," said Wi-SKY’s Chief Technical Officer Michael Leabman. Leabman said DataRunway solved Doppler and other broadband issues encountered at jet aircraft speed. Wi-SKY has patents pending for the vertical application of next-generation wireless (4G) communication with aircraft in-flight. DataRunway has provisional patents on proprietary enhancements to 4G radio technology which will enable high-speed data transmission with aircraft utilizing unlicensed spectrum, Wi-SKY said. Wi-SKY’s platform operates in the unlicensed 2.4 GHz spectrum. Wi-SKY said it successfully flight tested the technology in 2007, achieved 1.1 Mbps upload and 1.1 Mbps download to a jet. The company said it is booking space for demonstrations of Internet throughput of more than 10 Mbps to an aircraft in-flight. The demonstrations are set for the fourth quarter in Silicon Valley, Calif.

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