FCC Considers Lifting Bans on Cellphones on Airplanes

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In a 3-2 vote today, the Federal Communications Commission has officially decided to consider lifting the ban on cellphones in airplanes, citing that there’s no technical reason for their use to be impermissible. So prepare yourselves now, folks — one day, you might have to listen to somebody’s entire phone conversation while in flight. Whee.

All is not lost yet for those of who don’t exactly relish the thought, of course. Just because technology makes such a ban obsolete doesn’t mean that everyone is on board with the idea. A recent Quinnipiac University poll suggests that 59% of Americans overall don’t want cell phones to be used on airlines, as well as 52% of people between the ages of 18 to 29.

Even the government is getting involved in making sure phone calls stay off of our airplanes — both the federal Department of Transportation and several congressional members have introduced legislation to ban cell phone conversations on commercial air flights. Text messages, however, would still be permissible under these proposed bills.

Apparently, even the FCC doesn’t particularly enjoy the idea, but has continued to consider doing away with the ban anyway, as it’s technically become obsolete.

“I’m the last person in the world who wants to listen to someone talking to me while I fly across the country,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said at an congressional panel. “But we are the technical agency, and we will make the rules for the way the new technology works.”

(via USA Today and CNN, image via Pieter Ouwerkerk)

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