Fri, Mar 23, 2007
Providers Say Signals Would Cause Interference; Pax Protest
In a rare win for common courtesy, it appears likely the Federal
Communications Commission will end its investigation into whether
cell phones can be used safely on airplanes while inflight.
The IDG News service reports ground-based wireless signal
carriers are concerned cell phone signals from overhead could
interfere with their towers, most of which aren't set up to look
for signals from above. But the groundswell of reaction from irate
passengers, who don't want to suffer through yet another
intolerable condition when packed onto crowded airliners, was a
strong factor in the debate, as well.
"We are currently experiencing an extreme loss of civility in
our country, and cell phones are part of the problem," said one
Washington woman in an e-mail to the FCC last year. "Air travel is
painful enough without having to listen to one or more cell phone
conversations while you're a captive audience."
The commission also cited a letter from a Virginia man, who
called the idea of cell phones contributing to the already high
noise levels in most airliner cabins "absurd."
On Thursday, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said he would ask other
commissioners to keep the ban in place. The other commissioners are
now reviewing Martin's proposal calling for the end to the
investigation, which began in December 2004.
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