Hot on the heels of its decision to allow airplane passengers to use electronics in airplane mode during takeoff and landing, it appears that the Federal Communications Commission is now thinking about letting them make calls during flight as well.
Sources speaking to The Wall Street Journal said today that the FCC is weighing a proposal that would allow passengers to make phone calls and use cellular data once their plane is over 10,000 feet in the air. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has confirmed that a new proposal is being circulated that will give consumers more options when it comes to using mobile broadband while in flight, but he didn't offer up any other details on the plans. Wheeler's statement is as follows:
“Today, we circulated a proposal to expand consumer access and choice for in-flight mobile broadband. Modern technologies can deliver mobile services in the air safely and reliably, and the time is right to review our outdated and restrictive rules. 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 proposal is expected to be discussed at a meeting in December. It's worth noting that even if the FCC does greenlight this plan, it would still be up to the airlines to decide whether or not they would want to actually install wireless tech on its plans and allow its passengers to make phone calls. While many folks are likely in favor of allowing the use of electronics during a flight's takeoff and landing, the issue of whether or not passengers should be able to make phone calls is likely to be much more polarizing, and it'll be interesting to see how this situation plays out.
What do you think of the FCC's proposal? Do you think airplane passengers should be allow to make phone calls?