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USA: FCC rejects plan to allow inflight cell service

America’s Federal Communication Commission has rejected plans that looked at allowing passengers to make in-flight phone calls on domestic US flights.

Photo:The NewYork Times

While most modern airplanes have the bandwidth to allow voice calls over the internet, the mobile phones have stayed switched off in the US skies.

The FCC proceedings were going on since 2013. Cell phone use would have been limited to altitudes of 10000 feet and above.

In its order terminating the proceedings, FCC said, “The record is insufficient to determine any reasonable solution that would strike an appropriate balance of competing interests. There is strong opposition to the Commission’s proposals from many commenters in this proceeding, including our nation’s airline pilots and flight attendants.”

“A number of commenters argue that the results of international studies and operations may not adequately reflect whether onboard mobile operations can be safely permitted in the United States.The record is insufficient to determine any reasonable solution that would strike an appropriate balance of competing interests.”, it added.

The association of flights attendants also were in opposition to the use of mobile-phones inflight.

“One of our gravest concerns is the potential increased risks to safety and security due to voice call-related operational vulnerabilities. In-flight voice calling will allow unauthorized persons to communicate by voice off the airplane or within the airplane.Safety and security must be considered and addressed comprehensively before consideration is given to permitting the use of voice call services by passengers on commercial transport airplanes.”, said Sara Nelson, President, Assocition of flight attendants.

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