FCC starts comment period for in-flight calls on planes

FCC starts comment period for in-flight calls on planes

FCC starts comment period for in-flight calls on planes

Print
Email
|

by KMOV.com staff and Associated Press

KMOV.com

Posted on January 15, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 15 at 12:48 PM

(KMOV) – The Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday opened its 60-day comment period on whether it should lift its ban on in-flight cell phone.

The FCC has banned in-flight calls for technical reasons. But new technology has made that ban obsolete, the commission says, and there’s no reason to continue it.

The FCC has been pelted with criticism since chairman Tom Wheeler announced the proposal, which would also allow passengers to use their smartphones to send email, text and download data. The proposal would apply to flights when they are over 10,000 feet in altitude, but not during takeoffs and landings.

The FCC is taking public input on the proposal, and an agency statement says officials will consider consumer and stakeholder opinion before taking any final action. The agency offers more information on its website, including a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and a means of filing comments online.

A majority of Americans who fly oppose such a change, an Associated Press-GfK poll conducted in December found.

The poll found 48 percent of Americans oppose allowing cellphones to be used for voice calls while flying; just 19 percent support it. Another 30 percent are neutral.

Among those who fly, opposition is stronger. Looking just at Americans who have taken more than one flight in the past year, 59 percent are against allowing calls on planes. That number grows to 78 percent among those who’ve taken four or more flights.

In October, the Federal Aviation Administration lifted restrictions on the use of most personal electronic devices during takeoffs and landings, but not cellphone calls, which fall under the FCC.

The FAA based its decision to ease restrictions on electronic devices on recommendations from an industry advisory group, which said use of tablets, music players and other devices doesn’t cause dangerous electronic interfere with navigation systems on modern airliners. Passengers are supposed to put the devices on “airplane mode.” The same advisory group also recommended that the FCC review its restrictions on phone calls.

The FCC proposal is primarily a response to the advisory group’s recommendation, said an FCC spokesman, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to release the information in his own name.

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Print
Email
|