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The FCC has terminated its proposal inquiry to relax cell phone ban laws, but FAA regulations still run the show anyway

In December 2004 the Federal Communications Commission launched an inquiry to rescind or relax its ban on 800MHz-band cellular phones aboard in-flight aircraft.  In addition to lifting the ban, the study also investigated the feasibility of using pico-cells and other technology to boost coverage in-flight communication via mobile devices.

In a release today, the FCC announced it has terminated the 2004 study (PDF).  Some aspects of the study, such as technical solutions to physically allow cellular phones to function on aircraft, were deemed a success.  The FCC states that its advisory arm has conducted extensive research into the hazards of in-flight usages, with potential solutions as well.  These findings will be published by mid-2007.

However, even if the FCC were to reverse its ban, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration still has a long standing policy prohibiting usage of transmitting electronics in-flight.  While the FCC's in-flight ban is largely credited to air-to-ground interference, the FAA's ban on cell phones is due to the hazard of air-to-air and in-cabin interference.

The FAA's mobile device guidelines at least partially influenced the FCC's decision to abandon its exploratory research.  "The Commission also noted that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prohibits the use of portable electronic devices (PEDs) on airborne aircraft," the FCC stated. "Given the lack of technical information in the record upon which we may base a decision, we have determined at this time that this proceeding should be terminated."

There is still a loophole in the FCC and FAA bans.  Aircraft-specific services, like Connexion, may operate under the spectrums allocated by the two agencies.

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RE: HUH????
By Sartori42 on 4/4/2007 5:38:47 AM , Rating: 3
You may not have known the exact real-world effects of cell phone usage on an aircraft's circuits with a study like this. And different aircraft will undoubtedly have different vulnerabilities.

Why use a cell phone in flight? Why use one at all, ever? Somehow people survived (and even procrated!) before cell phones, but now some people are never without a connection. Look at the folks with those little headsets permanently attached to their heads. So, the world progresses and people begin to feel that there shouldn't be ANYWHERE that they are out of contact. Maybe for business, maybe for personal reasons. Whatever. Time goes on. People want more convenience.

Also, I think the idea was to try to find a way to give consumers the convenience without causing a safety issue. Without an in-depth study, the solution may elude them. What if you could have both inexpensive communications capability and in-flight safety? What if the results had been different? Would the study then have been worth it?

So, even tho the study didn't produce the "happy answer", you needed the study to learn the facts.

RE: HUH????
By alifbaa on 4/4/2007 7:46:21 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, from my reading of the article, the "happy answer" is exactly what the study produced, which is why they finished the study. I think the title is poorly worded because the author failed to understand what the study was actually trying to do and was capable of affecting.

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