FCC Asks FAA to Allow Greater Use of Gadgets During Flights

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski did not refer to a general acceptance of voice calls, but "greater use of tablets, e-readers, and other portable devices."

That "greater use" apparently would allow communications other than voice as Genachowski noted that such devices "empower people to stay informed and connected with friends and family, and they enable both large and small businesses to be more productive and efficient, helping drive economic growth and boost U.S. competitiveness."

Genachowski reportedly sent the letter to FAA administrator Michael Huerta, who has not officially responded to the request yet. It was unclear whether the note would be targeted at greater availability of Wi-Fi connectivity on airplanes or the permission to allow cellular connections during flights.

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  • bavman
    Seems to be lots of rumors and myths about this issue. Stuff about how electromagnetic radiation is stronger when travel at fast speed like on a plane. Someone should probable run tests to confirm/deny, but until then I'd rather live without my phone or wifi for a couple hours and make it there safely.
  • Weps
    I bet that if they decide to somehow monetize it (Wi-Fi option with your ticket, costing extra) they'll implement it faster than you can say "fasten your seatbelts".
  • abbadon_34
    electronic devices, of any types, do not interfer with an airplane, it's been tested and proven time and time again, same with hospitals, it is a myth they perpatrate because they don't want people talking on their phones (I don't blame them, I just wish they would tell the truth)
  • kingnoobe
    bavman mythbusters actually already did something about it. And it would be very very rare thing for a cellphone to cause any risk, but if you look at the big picture tons of electronics (plane)+a load of a different planes (some of which may have poorer shielding) + a load of different cellphones/electronics.

    It's a fair assumption to say the FAA simply doesn't want to run the risk of anything that it doesn't have to. And nobody is gonna die with having to go a few hours without their phone or other electronic device.
  • mrmaia
    That "greater use" apparently enable both large and small businesses to be more productive and efficient, helping drive economic growth and boost U.S. competitiveness."

    I sincerely don't think it would do that much difference.

    The "electronics can make your plane fall" culture is already way too rooted into people's minds imo. Even if the companies do allow gadgets, they'll have problems with slightly more paranoid people refusing to fly with someone else who uses them.
  • memadmax
    This isn't the 80's anymore, where you had to kick the flight computer to get it running again... Nowadays, flight computers are built to withstand hits from lightning... I think it's time to loosen up the rules a bit...
  • danwat1234
    Sign this petition! George Takei (Mr. Sulu) wants you to be able to play words with friends on flights as well..
  • house70
    A lot of nations have already done away with this requirement. Is about time for the US to get with the times...
  • waylander
    I really do think that the noise would be horrific if that many people confined into that small a space all started talking on their phones....

    email and texting would be fine IMO.
  • aoneone
    Didn't Mythbusters debunk this ancient myth?