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FCC: Cell Phone Use on Planes Still Banned

This just in as we start to pack for those plane trips to Las Vegas.

This just in as we start to pack for those plane trips to Las Vegas.

The FCC has “terminated” its proceeding on the use of cell phones on all planes — for now — leaving a ban in place.

Back in 2004, we reported the commission was considering lifting the rule that requires cell phones to be turned off once a plane leaves the ground to avoid interfering with cellular network systems on the ground. The FAA also limits the use of cell phones and other portable electronic devices onboard planes to ensure against interference with the aircraft’s navigation and communication systems.

The commission now says the comments filed on the subject (WT Docket No. 04-435) are skimpy on technical details about whether cell phone use on planes would cause harmful interference to terrestrial networks. Since the airlines, manufacturers and wireless providers are looking into the issue the commission decided it can suspend its efforts, but would reconsider if the right technical data were to become available.

Let’s hope it doesn’t. We’d like to think the real reasoning here is the better one: the nuisance factor. Can you imagine being trapped on a plane for hours with everybody yelling into their cell phones?

I read somewhere recently the airlines are looking into offering wireless Internet service on flights. Now that would be worthwhile.