Charlotte startup to roll out in-flight Wi-Fi network with new funding

Updated: Apr. 3, 2017 at 9:39 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (Katherine Peralta/Charlotte Observer) - A Charlotte-based startup working to improve Internet connectivity in airplanes has secured $170 million in a multi-tranche Series B financing.

Charlotte-based SmartSky Networks is rolling out the country's first 4G LTE-based broadband high speed wireless air-to-ground data network, according to a statement from the firm Friday.

SmartSky says its network allows users to experience broadband connectivity that is similar to what they have in their homes or offices.

"Cellular has built out everywhere. Now it's time to build up," SmartSky CEO Haynes Griffin said.

Griffin said that its "early bird" customers will begin installation of the technology in the next quarter.

With its latest funding round, SmartSky says it has secured almost $250 million in capital. SmartSky was started in 2011 and has its offices at 4690 First Flight Dr., near Charlotte Douglas International Airport.