In response to concerns from the public, the U.S. Transportation Department intends to solicit public comment on the matter, the New York Times reports.
“Over the past few weeks, we have heard of concerns raised by airlines, travelers, flight attendants, members of Congress and others who are all troubled over the idea of passengers’ talking on cellphones in flight -- and I am concerned about this possibility as well,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told the Times.
The FCC's considerations, however, are focused on whether the technology is safe to use and will not interfere with wireless networks on the ground, not on whether allowing phone use would be annoying to others.
"If technology eliminates interference and therefore it eliminates the need for an interference protection rule, then we ought to eliminate the rule," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said.
Even if the FCC does lift the ban, Wheeler said it would still be up to individual airlines to decide if passengers could make calls in flight.
“We understand that many passengers would prefer that voice calls not be made on airplanes. I feel that way myself,” he said in a Nov. 22 statement according to the Associated Press.
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