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Verizon (NYSE: VZ) Airfone says it has made progress toward providing wireless broadband services for U.S. air travel.

The announcement follows the FCC's establishment of rules for auctioning spectrum in the 800 MHz band dedicated to commercial air-to-ground telecommunication services.

The FCC's action will enable the agency to auction spectrum licenses early in 2006 and puts Verizon Airfone, whose services are available on United Airlines, Continental Airlines Inc. (NYSE: CAL), US Airways Group Inc. (NYSE: LCC) and Delta Air Lines Inc. (OTC: DALRQ), one step closer to providing its customers with broadband services.

An auction early next year will enable Verizon Airfone to begin offering inflight wireless Internet access in 2007 (subject to acquiring a license from the FCC).

"We are pleased with the FCC's efforts to promote the development of broadband services, and we urge the FCC to move as quickly as possible to auction new licenses in the 800 MHz band," said Bill Pallone, president, Verizon Airfone. Verizon Airfone, first to use third-generation Code Division Multiple Access technology in an airborne system, has been demonstrating the system to commercial airlines by conducting flight tests since September 2004 that have achieved ground-to-air peak data speeds of 2.4 Mbps.