It may have been a bit premature for those aspiring to make phone calls aboard airplanes to declare victory. After showing a bit of leaning towards that camp, the FCC has issued an official statement that claims its chair doesn’t like the idea himself.
FCC chairman Tom Wheeler called the current rules surrounding the use of wireless services in planes as outdated and restrictive. He mentioned a proposal that would, in effect, allow making phone calls during flights. This apparently struck a nerve and the FCC’s phone lines was swamped with complaints and expressions of disapproval, some even going so far as calling Wheeler a “wireless lobbyist”.
Things probably have gotten out of hand to the point that the Commission felt the need to issue a formal statement again, this time talking about how passengers do not like the idea and how Wheeler himself felt likewise. To be fair, the FCC’s role in the matter is quite limited, focusing only on the technical merits of the proposal in question. In that capacity, it does believe that, thanks to advances in technology, these restrictions are no longer warranted, at least on a technological level.
The ball, then, falls on others’ court, particularly on the FAA, who just recently approved the use of portable electronic devices on all stages of flight. But ultimately, it will also be up to airlines to decide whether they will allow such policy for their passengers.