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Parliamentary questions
2 April 2012
E-003549/2012
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 117
Judith A. Merkies (S&D) and Saïd El Khadraoui (S&D)

 Subject: Wi-Fi connection in aeroplanes
 Answer(s) 

Calling on mobile phones and using the Internet is often still impossible on aeroplanes and trains. Many rail companies have already invested in Wi-Fi connections on trains, but the majority of trains still offer no Internet access. The Dutch rail company NS made a start in March 2010 by equipping all its trains with free Internet on board via a Wi-Fi connection.

The Commission has set itself a goal to establish a digital internal market in 2015. One of the campaigns within that framework is the promotion of mobile Internet via tablet computers, mobile telephones and smart phones. The support for the installation of broadband connections and the recently established spectrum policy are elements of the digital European market policy.

The situation is more complex with aeroplanes. If an airline wants to offer mobile services to its customers, it has to resort to a satellite system or an air-to-ground system.

Air-to-ground would be a cheaper and faster solution than calling via satellites and it is very successful in the US. This solution, however, is difficult to put into effect in the EU. An agreement must be made beforehand about where the operator will be established, which legislation is valid and at which frequency the air-to-ground system will work.

What is the Commission going to do in order to make it possible to call on mobile phones and use the Internet on aeroplanes too?
Is the Commission considering the arrangement of an air-to-ground system in Europe?
In what way has the Commission, in its new spectrum policy, taken into account the provision of airborne mobile phone and Internet facilities and an air-to-ground system in Europe?

Original language of question: NLOJ C 241 E, 22/08/2013
Last updated: 27 April 2012Legal notice