“The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 today to initiate a period of public comment about its proposal to remove the ban on the use of mobile phones in airplanes,” Roslyn Layton reports for Tech Policy Daily. “This is not to be confused with the recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ruling deciding that portable electronic devices no longer have to be powered down during landing and takeoff and can be used in all phases of flight (except to make calls).”

“The FCC’s proposal concerns mobile operations above 10,000 feet and whether they impact terrestrial networks,” Layton reports. “As FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler has noted, there is no technical issue that interferes with the safety of fliers, ‘When the rationale for a rule doesn’t exist, the rule shouldn’t exist.'”

“To be clear, the default which will remain is that phones can’t be used in flight. In order to initiate the service the airline would need to (1) create its own policy allowing mobile service and (2) install the requisite equipment that makes mobile communications possible,” Layton reports. “The Chairman observed that unless rulemaking goes forward, not even text or data services will be allowed, let alone voice. What airlines decide to do to serve their customers could take a variety of forms, from banning calls outright, to allowing only quiet communication, creating call zones, or a number of other possibilities.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote last month:

If implemented, headphones (to block out the insipid, mindless yammering from the doofus/ditz next to you) are going to be even more of an absolute necessity than they are today.

Related articles:
Yapping seatmates a hurdle in FCC plan for inflight cellphone calls – November 22, 2013
U.S. FCC to propose allowing cellphone use on airplanes – November 21, 2013