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  1. #1
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    05.23.18 @ 02:49 PM
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    FCC considers lifting cell phone ban on planes

    FCC considers lifting cell phone ban on planes

    The Federal Communications Commission is considering green-lighting the use of cellphones and mobile broadband services on airplanes above 10,000 feet.

    The agency, which has restricted the use of cellular devices for making phone calls or surfing the Web in-flight, is circulating a proposed rulemaking among its commissioners. The agency will introduce the item at its December open meeting, and will then allow for public comment on the proposal.

    FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said Thursday that it's important for the FCC to keep up with changing technology.

    "Modern technologies can deliver mobile services in the air safely and reliably, and the time is right to review our outdated and restrictive rules," he said in a statement. "I look forward to working closely with my colleagues, the FAA, and the airline industry on this review of new mobile opportunities for consumers."

    The FCC's move comes just weeks after the Federal Aviation Administration said it plans to change its rules for using electronic devices in flight. The agency said it will now lift restrictions so that devices, such as e-readers and tablets, can be used during take-off and landing. But at the time, the FAA said that it would still restrict the use of cellular services in-flight, requiring users to switch their electronic gadgets to "airplane mode," which turns off the cellular radios.

    The changes in the FCC rules would now make it possible for consumers to use cellular voice and data services once the aircraft reaches 10,000 feet. These devices will still need to be in airplane mode during take-off and landing.

    But even though the rule changes will make it possible for these services to be accessed in-flight, the FCC will not force airlines to allow people to talk on their phones or use cellular data services while in the air. Airlines may still impose restrictions on usage. There has already been a lot of debate surrounding whether people should be allowed to make phone calls while traveling in such close quarters.

    The question of whether cellphones could be used on airplanes has come up in the past at the FCC. The agency considered a similar proposal in 2004 and sought public comment. But it dropped the rule changes in 2007 after flight attendants and others lobbied against it. At the time, the FCC said that it lacked enough technical information to change the rules.

    Changes to rules restricting cellular service in Europe are also changing. Last week, the European Commission adopted new rules to allow passengers to use devices with 3G and 4G data connections. Previously, the agency only allowed 2G wireless services to be used aboard flights above 3000 meters. But as it is in the U.S., airlines in Europe will ultimately decide whether passengers can use any cellular device while flying.

    FCC sees backlash after proposing to allow in-flight cellphone calls on planes

    Air travel may get a lot chattier with a new federal proposal to allow cellphone calls on airplanes.

    The Federal Communications Commission said Thursday that it will consider rules that would allow air travelers to make calls and use their cellular data plans once a plane reaches 10,000 feet. Restrictions would remain for takeoffs and landings.

    The proposal, which will be raised at the commission’s meeting next month, has the backing of the agency’s newly appointed chairman. But the idea is bound to be controversial. Within hours of the announcement, consumers flooded the agency with protests.

    One FCC commissioner received hundreds of e-mails complaining that the move would lead to unbearable noise pollution, an aide said. Passengers are already crammed into smaller seats and tighter rows, and being forced to listen to one another’s calls would be yet another indignity, they wrote.

    A petition quickly went up on the White House Web site Thursday, asking the Obama administration to stop the effort. “This would make an already cranky, uncomfortable travel experience exponentially worse, and as a frequent flier and concerned citizen, I think the administration needs to nip this in the bud,” a resident from Richmond wrote.

    Wendy Evans, a San Diego resident who frequently travels to Seattle, Las Vegas and the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina for work and to visit family, mourned the potential loss of one of the last refuges from cellphones.

    “I travel a lot and consider my time in the air a chance for many things — reading, thinking, sleeping or catching up on work but certainly not for listening to people chat on the phone,” she said.

    FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said the two-decade-old rule banning calls is out of date, and recent research rebuts concerns that radio signals from devices could interfere with a pilot’s operation of a plane.

    “Modern technologies can deliver mobile services in the air safely and reliably, and the time is right to review our outdated and restrictive rules,” Wheeler said in a statement. He said the effort would open up “new mobile opportunities for consumers.”

    After voting Dec. 12 on whether to put the proposal out for public comment, the FCC could hold a final vote within a few months. The move comes weeks after the FAA cleared the use of electronic devices during takeoffs and landings.

    Wheeler, a Democrat, would need the support of the majority of the five-member commission, which has two other Democrats and two Republicans. The cellphone use proposal does not need congressional approval.

    If approved, the new guidelines would give airlines the ability to install special equipment to relay wireless signals from the plane to the ground, but the companies would not be obligated to do so. Cellphone calls are already permitted on some European flights.

    The FCC made a similar proposal in 2004, but it was dropped three years later in the face of stiff opposition from flight attendants and other groups worried about the distractions of constantly ringing phones and people talking on their devices while others are trying to sleep.

  2. #2
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    05.23.18 @ 09:25 AM
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    If this goes thru, I think we'll start hearing alot of "SHUT THE FUCK UP" on planes. People don't have a clue how loud they are sometimes on cell phones. I see this all the time on the commuter train to and from work.
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    05.23.18 @ 08:49 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buschman View Post
    If this goes thru, I think we'll start hearing alot of "SHUT THE FUCK UP" on planes. People don't have a clue how loud they are sometimes on cell phones. I see this all the time on the commuter train to and from work.
    I hear ya. I take the bus to work every day and it's not too bad thankfully.
    But when it does happen, it's just awful.
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