FCC May Greenlight Mid-Flight Cell CallsBy: Josh Wolford - November 21, 2013
Could you soon be permitted to call your loved ones while flying the friendly skies?
According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the Federal Communications Commission is set to suggest new rules that would allow passengers to use their cellphones at cruising altitude.
From The Wall Street Journal:
The Federal Communications Commission will propose allowing passengers to use their cellphones on airplanes, people familiar with the matter said.
While phone use would still be restricted during takeoff and landing, the proposal would lift an FCC ban on airborne calls and cellular data use by passengers once a flight reaches 10,000 feet, an FCC official said.
That’s the dream, right?
Of course, the FCC isn’t the only group with a say in this.
Even if the FCC decided to change their rules, any changes would have to be considered by the Federal Aviation Administration and gain approval over there as well, and individual airlines would have the final say on whether or not they allow you to jabber away during flights. Not only have flight staff expressed concerns about any possible lifting of the cellphone ban in the past (they say it would be a nuisance), but you can probably imagine how some passengers would feel about their row-mates airing their laundry for the entire plane to hear – for a four-hour flight. Ugh.
As of right now…
“Federal Communications Commission rules prohibit the use of cellular phones using the 800 MHz frequency and other wireless devices on airborne aircraft. The ban was put in place because of potential interference to wireless networks on the ground.”
Almost a decade ago, the FCC first explored lifting the cellphone ban – but the proceeding was ended in 2007 when they “determined that the technical information provided by interested parties in response to the proposal was insufficient to determine whether in-flight use of wireless devices on aircraft could cause harmful interference to wireless networks on the ground.”
Also, as stated before, some people weren’t happy about the notion.
It is the digital age, however, and things have been trending toward a general relaxing of in-flight electronics rules lately. Just last month, the FAA decided to expand passenger use of portable electronic devices during all phases of flight. That means you no longer have to power down your cellphones, tablets, and e-readers during landing and takeoff – or at least that will be the case as soon as all the airlines get on board. The FAA says that they hope this will be the case by the end of the year.
Image via Thinkstock