The Federal Communications Commission said today it intends to propose allowing commercial airliners to install equipment making it possible for passengers to make phone calls during flight.
“Modern technologies can deliver mobile services in the air safely and reliably, and the time is right to review our outdated and restrictive rules,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a news release. The FCC will discuss the proposed rule change at its December 12 meeting.
The FCC’s announcement comes just a few weeks after the Federal Aviation Administration came around to the fact that iPads and laptops do not disrupt aviation equipment. But the FAA’s rule change kept in place longstanding restrictions on using cellular signals during flight.
In order to make it possible to use a cell phone during flight, airlines would install equipment that carries wireless signals via satellite from the ground to planes, similar to a system already in place in Europe. The European Commission last week approved allowing air passengers there to make calls during flight.