CNET News Video: Ban on in-flight cell calls may be lifting
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CNET News Video: Ban on in-flight cell calls may be lifting

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The Federal Communications Commission is considering lifting a ban on using cell phones inflight to make calls and access mobile data. The ban was originally put in place because of potential interference to wireless networks on the ground. CNET's Sumi Das details the FCC proposal and how it could end up costing passengers more in airfare.

People use their cellphones just about everywhere except here on board planes where cell usage is banned that could soon change. The Federal Communications Commission is considering allowing passengers to use their cellphones in flight to make calls or use mobile data. The proposal would allow calls above 10,000 feet but still ban the use of cellphones during takeoff and landing. The move comes on the heels of an EFAA decision to allow passengers to keep their electronic devices powered on gate to gate. -I think what they will probably do is look to see what your connectivity will be and if you're doing it over Wi-Fi, there is no reason for anyone to say that causes problems with the planes. -The commission has gone down this road before. It considered relaxing the ban in 2004 but didn't take action after flight attendants and others have lobbied against it. In the statement from the FCC, Chairman Tom Wheeler acknowledged time has changed saying, "Modern technologies can deliver mobile services in the air safely and reliably. And the time is right to review our outdated and restrictive rules." The airlines will still have to decide how much cellular usage they will allow on their planes and then there's the question of whether people want to sit in a cabin full of people making phone calls. -But I'm sure the airlines will institute parts of the plane that will be the no-phone zone and they'll be highly sought after. -The FCC will introduce the item at its December meeting and will allow public comment on the proposal. In San Francisco, I'm Sumi Das, CNET for CBS News.
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