Richi Jennings

SHUT UP on the plane! But DOT may save us from FCC cellphone rule

December 13, 2013 6:21 AM EST

in-flight cellphone
FCC votes to allow cellphones at 10,000 feet.

The Federal Communications Commission proposes a new rule, permitting cellphones in the air. Unsurprisingly, many are unhappy about the prospect of sitting next to a loud yapper for hours. However, help could be at hand, in the form of the Department Of Transportation. It may prohibit voice calls, for being unfair to consumers.

In IT Blogwatch, frequent bloggers whip out their gold cards and head to the lounge. Then they pre-board and fill up all the overhead bins.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.

 
Stephen Lawson is not related to Nigella:

In-flight cellular in the U.S. may be closer to reality than some consumers realize. ... The U.S. Federal Communications Commission [voted] to issue a proposal for legalizing small cellular base stations on airliners. ... It would end a decades-long ban that has preserved airline cabins as rare cell-free spaces.
...
Actually allowing voice calls in flight would be up to the airlines. ... Another potential hurdle to such services:..The U.S. Department of Transportation said it would consider its own ban on in-flight calls.
...
Pulling out a cellphone in the air...is already legal in many places outside the U.S. ... These in-flight services go through small, specialized cellular base stations installed on planes...called picocells [which] prevent interference with cell towers on the ground...the reason for the FCC's longtime ban.  MORE


 
Wake up, Marguerite "Maggie" Reardon:

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler emphasized that the Department of Transportation, which oversees the Federal Aviation Administration, will have the final say [because] the decision to green-light cell phone use is not ultimately the FCC's decision. ... The DOT will handle what, if any, behavioral regulations are necessary [and] "The FAA is the expert agency on determining which devices can be used on airplanes." ... Our mandate from Congress is to oversee how networks function.
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DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx...said his agency is looking into whether permitting phone calls "is fair to consumers" or if they should be banned.  MORE


 
But Kevin Robillard, Kathryn A. Wolfe and Brooks Boliek have a somewhat different spin on that final point:

The Transportation Department announced it will consider using its own authority to [ensure] passengers could use their cellphones to text and access data...but not to annoy their seatmates with hours of yapping.
...
Any regulation coming from the FAA...would deal solely with the technical question of whether it’s safe and feasible to allow cellphone use on airplanes.  MORE


 
Grant Gross makes honey while the sun shines:

[FCC] commissioners have received many “quite colorful” public comments opposing the plan to allow mobile phone use on airplanes since Wheeler announced he would make the proposal, [Commissioner Ajit] Pai said.  MORE


 
Meanwhile, this frequent traveler has news for the FAA:

I fly on average of 20+ flights a year and please no talking! We business travelers want it quiet.

And shut your baby up. You're a terrible parent by letting it cry.  MORE


 

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