Get your earplugs, FCC may let people make cell phone calls on planes

lobbyists dont want fcc reverse flight cellphone call ban shutterstock 135220832

The skies have already become a whole lot more gadget-friendly in the past month, with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently giving airlines the go-ahead to let passengers use their portable electronics during takeoff and landing. But that, it seems, is just the beginning. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may soon consider lifting the ban on inflight cell phone use.

If you think this is a terrible idea, you’re not alone. A survey conducted by the FAA found that 51 percent of respondents reacted negatively to the thought of inflight wireless service, while 47 percent welcomed the idea. Furthermore, airlines that provide Wi-Fi have had the option of allowing inflight calls through Voice over IP (VoIP) services like Skype – but “virtually all” U.S. airlines shot down the idea, WSJ reports, because they found that “their customers don’t want inflight calls.”

As with VoIP calls, airlines will be able to choose whether they want to allow inflight cell phone calls or not. And as of right now, many airlines are “hesitant” about introducing the possibility of rude callers, who chat away loudly on their phones for entire flights, reports WSJ.

Of course, there are plenty of reasons why some passengers would cheer for inflight cell service, from family emergencies to time-sensitive business deals – all of which, we should add, can feasibly be dealt with over email, or Gogo’s forthcoming text messaging service.

The FCC’s ban on inflight cell phone calls has been in place since 1991 due to concerns that wireless signals would interfere with crucial plane communications. The FAA recently found, however, that there is no safety issues caused by cell phone calls on planes.

If the FCC does decide to lift its cell phone ban, there will be some stipulations. First, unlike other gadget usage, cell phone calls won’t be allowed below altitudes of 10,000 feet. Also, the service will likely cost a bundle; according to WSJ, cell phone companies will likely create a whole new set of roaming fees, and partner with inflight Wi-Fi companies like Gogo to offer the service. The expense of inflight cell calls, therefore, may prevent the long, loud conversations half of Americans seem to fear.

For better or worse, the FCC is expected to begin discussing the abolition of its inflight cell phone call ban at a meeting in December.

So what do you think: Would you welcome inflight cell phone service?

[Image via Zurijeta/Shutterstock]

Web

Can Microsoft’s Airband Initiative close broadband gap for 25M Americans?

A new report from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says that 25 million Americans do not have access to broadband internet. Of these, more than 19 million are living in rural communities. Can Microsoft help out?
Mobile

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

Looking for flexible and inexpensive phone service? Check out our favorite MVNOs

Looking to switch from a major carrier to something a little more affordable? Luckily, there are a ton of great MVNO options to choose from. Check out our guide to the best MVNOs, from Boost Mobile to Google Fi.
Home Theater

Block the outside world, tune into your own with the best in-ear headphones

Over-the-ear headphones offer top-flight sound, but they're not so easy to take along with you. If you're looking to upgrade your portable sound, check out our favorite in-ear headphones -- there's a model for every user and every budget.
Mobile

OnePlus's 5G phone should arrive in May 2019, may cost up to $850

OnePlus will be among the first companies to put the new Snapdragon 855 processor into a phone, and will also release a separate and more expensive 5G phone in 2019 with the help of U.K. network EE.
Mobile

Santa Claus is coming to town. Get ready with these Christmas apps

Like it or not, Christmas comes but once a year. Thankfully, we've got a list of the best Christmas apps to help get you into the holiday spirit, just in case you want to call Santa or become a Christmas elf.
Product Review

The Black Shark gaming phone takes a big bite out of your free time, but the software sinks it

The world is being treated to an ever-increasing number of high-powered gaming phones. With so many great options already out, is there room for another? The Black Shark thinks so. But is it any good? We find out.
Gaming

Xiaomi’s Gamepad 2.0 turns the Black Shark into a mini Switch

Chinese phone manufacturer Xiaomi has introduced the Gamepad 2.0 for its Black Shark gaming phone that launched earlier this year. The new gamepad is similar to the Switch Joy-Con, with one piece attaching to each side of the phone.
Mobile

Google makes it easy to donate to charity straight through the Play Store

As we head into the holiday season, Google announced a new feature on Google Play that makes it a little easier to donate to charity. Through the new page, you'll be able to choose from a range of charities to donate to.
Deals

REI clearance sale extends discounts on Garmin, Fitbit, and GoPro devices

Beyond the things you typically expect to find at REI — like tents, skis, and jackets — there are tons of great deals on quality tech foryour outdoor adventures. From smartwatches to action cameras, here are the best tech deals.
Wearables

These are the best smartwatches for everything from fashion to fitness

Tempted to buy a smartwatch? If so, then the growing number of great models available means you've got plenty to choose from. But which one should you pick? Here is our list of the best smartwatches.
Mobile

Sprint’s 5G rollout: Everything you need to know

Sprint is building its next-gen 5G network in preparation for a 2019 rollout, but it's taking a decidedly different approach than some of its competitors, including Verizon and AT&T. Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

The Galaxy S10 may be announced before MWC, sell for up to $1,750

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Deals

Amazon slashes price of 2018 iPad to under $250 in time for Christmas

Whether you love Apple or prefer Android, this 2018 iPad 32GB tablet deal is rather tempting. If you're still on the hunt for gifts, then this deep discount from Amazon makes now an excellent time to pick one up.