By Esther Kang
AOL Buys Huffington Post for $315 Million
TIME reports that on Monday, AOL announced its plans to acquire The Huffington Post, a progressive Internet news site. This move follows AOL’s acquisition of TechCrunch in September 2010. The New York Times reports that The Huffington Post’s founder Arianna Huffington will become president and editor-in-chief of the new Huffington Post Media Group, giving her control of AOL’s news content. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong says that “the reason AOL is acquiring The Huffington Post is because we are absolutely passionate, big believers in the future of the Internet, big believers in the future of content.” According to MarketWatch, the acquisition will result in combined base of 117 million unique visitors in the U.S. and 270 million worldwide.
FCC Announces Plans to Expand Broadband Access
Reuters reports that the FCC plans to overhaul the $8 billion Universal Service Fund, a subsidy program for rural phone service, by redirecting the funds to support Internet access. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski says that the current system is “unsustainable” because “it was designed for a world with separate local and long-distance telephone companies; a world of traditional, landline telephones before cell phones or Skype; a world without the Internet — a world that no longer exists.” The Washington Post reports that President Obama also unveiled plans to expand broadband networks, pledging to spend $18 billion to bring 4G access to 98% of Americans within the next five years. According to CNET Obama anticipates raising $27.8 billion from auctions of spectrum currently licensed to TV broadcasters. However, as The New York Times reports, this estimate depends on whether broadcasters will voluntarily relinquish spectrum to the FCC.
In-flight Internet Provider Aircell Raises $35 Million
Bloomberg reports that Aircell, the largest in-flight wi-fi service provider, has raised $35 million in new funding, bringing its total capital to almost $600 million. Aircell first introduced its Gogo service in 2008, and the service is now available on flights for nine of the top eleven airlines, as VentureBeat reports. Aircell also currently provides wi-fi services for about 6,000 private aircraft. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Aircell’s CEO thinks the company is a “viable IPO candidate,” though the company has not yet made any decisions regarding an offering.