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FCC may drop plan allowing cell calls in-flight

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission said Thursday that the agency is considering dropping a proposal that would have lifted the ban on in-flight cell phone use.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission said Thursday that the agency is considering dropping a proposal that would have lifted the ban on in-flight cell phone use.

The commission began considering removal of the ban in late 2004.

FCC Chair Kevin Martin told reporters after a board meeting Thursday that the wireless telecommunications industry indicated in recent comments to the FCC that mobile phone calls in flying planes would interfere with their networks on the ground.

Two agencies claim regulatory jurisdiction over the issue. The FCC is focused on whether in-flight calling interferes with ground-based networks, while the Federal Aviation Administration considers safety issues.

Both agencies would have to approve lifting the ban for passengers to be able legally to make calls while in-flight, an FCC spokeswoman said.