In a join filing sent to the Federal Communications Commission on Friday, three trade associations stated that the agency should end its ban so that text, data “and even voice connectivity” so that airborne passengers, including those on long-haul international flights could use these important services. The trade groups noted that the airlines could decide what services passengers could use. The Consumer Electronics Association representing Apple was one of the groups voicing this position.
The FCC is considering allowing airline passengers to make voice calls using their mobile phones at altitudes above 10,000 feet. Its ban was put in place in the 1990s because of potential interference to wireless networks on the ground, states the report, though many concerns revolved around terrorism years ago.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler made his proposal after aviation regulators loosened restrictions on onboard use of Wi-Fi connected electronic devices such as Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindles and Apple’s iPads.
The report notes that “the agencies may decide to block voice calls while permitting other uses, such as texting and e-mail.”
In March we were first to report that starting in April United Airlines would be rolling out a new personal device entertainment system onboard select aircraft for Apple’s iPhone and iPad running iOS 7 exclusively at launch time.
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