FCC Hangs Up on Cell Phone Use on Planes

05/22/2018 - Technology
FCC Hangs Up on Cell Phone Use on Planes

The FCC changed the rules of cellphone usage on airplanes

The FCC has decided to table the subject of cell phone use on planes, though I suspect it will come up again. The reason given by the FCC was technical, that it was not clear whether the network on the ground could handle the calls. On the other hand, it’s also true that thousands of passengers, my mother-in-law included, have

written the FCC urging rejection of the proposal … because they wanted some peace.

Note that although the FCC was involved, so was the FAA, and both agencies would have had to approve the plan before cell phone use could have been made legal on planes.

The problem cited by (the chairman, Kevin) Martin did not have to do with flight safety or the mood in the cabin, but a problem raised by the cellphone industry. The system is designed for phones to communicate with a single cell tower at a time. But a cellphone that is several miles in the air can contact many towers at once, tying up circuits in all of them, the industry argued. Source: IHT

Interesting that the industry itself raised the issue. Also interesting that Joseph Farren, a spokesperson for the cellular industry’s trade association, the CTIA, said “From an in-flight perspective, there is some talk of, ‘O.K., maybe cellphone conversations would drive people crazy,'” he said.

And that’s where I (and my mother-in-law) agree. Have you heard people on buses or other rapid transit systems, or anywhere public on their cell phones? Because there’s no feedback or side tone from the microphone to your earpiece on a cell phone, unlike land line phones, people talk louder.

That’s besides the fact that people on cell phones just tend to ignore other people’s comfort when they talk. So thank you, FCC … my mother-in-law is dancing in the street … I may not be so joyous, but inside, so am I.