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FCC to examine ban on using mobile phones during flight
Posted on 16-Dec-2004 21:07. | Tags Filed under: News.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed to relax its current ban on the use of cellular telephones on airborne aircraft. The Commission addressed policy and technical options for permitting controlled use of cellular handsets and other wireless devices during flight as a means to increase communication options available to the traveling public as well as public safety personnel. The Commission’s rules currently require that cellular handsets be turned off once an aircraft leaves the ground to avoid interfering with terrestrial cellular systems. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations also currently restrict the use of mobile telephones and other portable electronic devices (PEDs) on aircraft to ensure against interference to onboard communications and navigation equipment.

The Commission cautioned that any steps it ultimately takes with respect to the use of cellular and other wireless devices aboard aircraft would be subject to the rules and policies of the FAA and aircraft operators. The Commission added that it did not intend in initiating this proceeding to affect ongoing efforts by the FAA to examine its own rules and policies on this subject. Rather, the Commission is coordinating with the FAA to ensure that FCC rules and policies complement the FAA’s efforts and address issues unique to wireless service providers, which are subject to the Commission’s regulatory jurisdiction.

Specifically, the Commission proposed to permit the airborne operation of “off the shelf” wireless handsets and other devices so long as the device operates at its lowest power setting under control of a “pico cell” located on the aircraft, and the operation does not allow unwanted radio frequency emissions to interfere with terrestrial cellular systems.

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