LegalRegulation

FCC Chairman Could Reverse Decision To Allow In-Flight Phone Calls

Sam Pudwell joined Silicon UK as a reporter in December 2016. As well as being the resident Cloud aficionado, he covers areas such as cyber security, government IT and sports technology, with the aim of going to as many events as possible.

Ajit Pai turns against 2013 FCC regulatory proceeding that was attempting to lift the ban on the use of mobile phones in US airlines

Back in 2013, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the US said it would consider allowing travelers to make in-flight calls after special equipment had been successfully deployed in other countries.

At the time, ex chairman Tom Wheeler said there were “no technical reasons to prohibit such technology to operate”, but suggested the choice should be left to tAirlinhe airlines themselves.

However, current FCC chairman Ajit Pai has now confirmed he is ready to kill any such developments, turning against a 2013 regulatory proceeding that was attempting to lift the ban on the use of mobile phones in US airlines.

Gogo In-Flight Wi-Fi Test (4)

In-flight calls

He needs two other commissioners to agree with him before the 2013 proposal can be formally scrapped, which would effectively put an end to the possibility of in-flight phone calls once and for all.

“I stand with airline pilots, flight attendants, and America’s flying public against the FCC’s ill-conceived 2013 plan to allow people to make cellphone calls on planes. I do not believe that moving forward with this plan is in the public interest,” Pai said in a statement.

“I do not believe that moving forward with this plan is in the public interest. Taking it off the table permanently will be a victory for Americans across the country who, like me, value a moment of quiet at 30,000 feet.”

This is not the first time Pai, who was appointed by new US President Donald Trump, has sought to overturn regulations, having recently vowed to “quickly replace” the landmark net neutrality rules that were introduced during the Obama era.

He has also pledged to maintain a ‘light touch’ regime and not to bow to any pressure from Trump, before being faced by The House of Representatives controversial overturning of a rule that required internet service providers (ISPs) to obtain permission before sharing the web browsing history of their customers.

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