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Cell Phone Use May Soon Be Allowed In Flight

December 13, 2004

Cell Phone Use May Soon Be Allowed In Flight
December 13, 2004 – USA Today reports that the United States Federal Communications Commission plans to seek public comment on whether to ease or lift its prohibition on the use of wireless phones and two-way communications devices while flying.

Cell phones and two-way communications have been banned due to concerns the communications would interfere with operating the plane and could overwhelm wireless systems on the ground. There are also questions about whether it is technically feasible to support thousands of calls from the air.

Currently, the FAA forbids the use of devices that emit radio waves, like wireless phones and computers that can communicate with each other. A technical advisory group is to report back next year on whether these restrictions should be changed, FAA spokesman Paul Takemoto said.

Other electronic devices, like music players and standard laptops, which can unintentionally cause interference, are permitted once the aircraft rises above 10,000 feet.

"Today the high cost of wireless when flying has kept the users low," telecommunications analyst Jeff Kagan said. "But once the cost drops or once you can use your own phone on board, the quiet air cabin may be a thing of the past."

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