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FCC Officially Proposes to Allow Phone Use on Planes

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Dec 13, 2013, 11:36 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   @phonescooper

Following Thursday's vote, the Federal Communications Commission today initiated a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would permit airlines to install equipment on aircraft that could safely expand the availability of in-flight mobile wireless services to passengers. "We propose to revise outdated rules and adopt consistent new rules governing mobile communications services aboard airborne aircraft," said the FCC. "These rule changes would give airlines, subject to applicable Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Transportation rules, the choice of whether to enable mobile communications services using an Airborne Access System and, if so, which specific services to enable." The FCC believes that, if adopted, the new rules will be easier for everyone to understand when and where they can and cannot make cellular voice calls on aircraft, as well as provide the necessary protections for passenger safety. The FCC is also exploring the idea of allowing passengers to access mobile data through their existing wireless provider when airborne, but again, that would be up to individual airlines to decide. "While many airlines offer in-flight Wi-Fi broadband services, the proposals in this Notice would give airlines the option to allow consumers to access broadband services when airborne through their existing wireless service providers, just as they would on the ground," explained the FCC. The FCC is accepting comments on the proposal.

more info at FCC »



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