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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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Thank god
By FITCamaro on 4/4/2007 7:31:18 AM , Rating: 4
I don't know about you. But if I'm crammed onto an aircraft, the last thing I want is 50 different people talking on their cell phone. Airplanes are one of the few refuges where people can't talk on them. Now granted. I have a cell phone and only a cell phone. But I can live without using one for a few hours at a time. The only time I see them being possibly needed is on long flights to Asia. My uncle is a high up at Motorola who's always flying to China and Japan and I'm sure sometimes he'd like to access certain features of his phone (the email portion).

But me personally, I hope the ban stays up. The last thing I need is some a-hole sitting next to me for an hour chatting away on his cell phone. Or Achmed to be coordinating another 9/11 style attack with someone on the ground.




RE: Thank god
By novacthall on 4/4/2007 7:58:17 AM , Rating: 5
My sentiments exactly.

As of right now, 30,000 feet up is the only place I can go to be free of my, and more importantly everyone else's, cellular phone. I accept and embrace the pressurized aluminum cylinder sanctuary in the sky.


RE: Thank god
By Diesel Donkey on 4/5/2007 1:00:12 AM , Rating: 2
Going out in the woods works pretty well, too :)


RE: Thank god
By bysmitty on 4/4/2007 8:52:10 AM , Rating: 2
Amen. I don't care if they interfere with other electronics or not; cell phones on planes would interfere with my sanity.

...bysmitty


RE: Thank god
By kalak on 4/4/2007 9:14:28 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The last thing I need is some a-hole sitting next to me for an hour chatting away on his cell phone.


I agree. When I have to take a bus travel, it's really annoying that people screaming on the phone.... uughhh !!!


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