Can You Hear Me Now? FCC Considers Allowing Cell Phone Calls on Flights.

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 21 2013 9:01 PM

Can You Hear Me Now? FCC Considers Allowing Cell Phone Calls on Flights.

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Soon Hillary Clinton might not have to put down the phone before takeoff.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Federal Communications Commission said on Thursday that it’s open to the idea of allowing passengers to use their cell phones during flight on airplanes. The change to the 22-year ban would allow passengers to use their phones once the aircraft had climbed above 10,000 feet. The F.C.C. says it will consider the issue when it meets on Dec. 12th.

The loosening of in-flight restrictions, the New York Times reports, “would allow voice calls through the use of what is called a picocell, a small cellular base station that would be installed on a plane, collect all cellphone activity during the flight and send it down to the ground.” Last month, the Federal Aviation Administration changed its rules to allow the use of electronics during takeoff and landing, permitting passengers to use devices such as computers and tablets throughout the flight. But, when it has come to using cellular devices, according to CNN, the F.C.C. has maintained their prohibition over concerns that their use could disrupt cellular towers thousands of feet below.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.