Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Memorandum Opinion and Order (Order) that terminates its proceeding on the use of cellular phones on airplanes. In December 2004, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to examine the existing rule that requires cellular phones to be turned off once an aircraft leaves the ground in order to avoid interfering with cellular network systems on the ground. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations also restrict the use of cellular phones and other portable electronic devices (PEDs) onboard aircraft to ensure against interference with the aircraft’s navigation and communication systems.If the Commission could do something about that horrible "no pillows" rule on American, I might consider flying again.
The comments filed in response to the NPRM provide insufficient technical information on whether the use of cellular phones onboard aircraft may cause harmful interference to terrestrial networks. Further, because airlines, manufacturers, and wireless providers are still researching the use of cell phones and other PEDs onboard aircraft, the FCC found that it would be premature to seek further comment at this juncture. Therefore, the FCC determined that its proceeding on this issue should be terminated at this time. It may, however, reconsider this issue at a later time if appropriate technical data is available.
— Phil Harvey, Managing Editor, Light Reading