The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Nation & World

November 23, 2013

FCC chairman says he's no fan of in-flight calls

NEW YORK — A day after setting off an uproar among travelers opposed to in-flight phone calls, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission Chairman backtracked, saying he personally isn't in favor of calls on planes.

"We understand that many passengers would prefer that voice calls not be made on airplanes. I feel that way myself," chairman Tom Wheeler said in a Friday statement.

The role of the FCC, he added, is to advise if there is a safety issue with using phones on planes. He said there is "no technical reason to prohibit" the use of mobile devices on planes.

The decision to allow calls will ultimately rest with the airlines, Wheeler emphasized.

Just three weeks into his job, Wheeler struck a nerve with travelers Thursday when he said it was time for the agency to review "our outdated and restrictive rules" about mobile services on airplanes. The rules have been in place for 22 years. A tentative agenda for the FCC's Dec. 12 meeting, posted Thursday, listed the proposed revision. It was the first the public heard of the change.

Wheeler seemingly underestimated the public outrage and media attention that such a move would generate.

"It struck a nerve ... their phones have been ringing," said Craig Aaron, president of Free Press, a consumer advocacy group. "It's a lot of attention for an agency that usually doesn't get that much attention."

By Friday afternoon, Wheeler's language was much more subdued. The new message: "The job of the FCC with respect to this issue is limited to issues related to communications technology."

Wheeler emphasized that "our proposal does not impose any requirement that airlines should provide voice connectivity." And to hammer home the point, the word "not" was underlined.

Text Only
Nation & World
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Helium