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FCC Chair Asks FAA To Reconsider Electronics Ban During Takeoff, Landing

Letter Sent By Julius Genachowski To Michael Huerta

The chairman of the FCC has sent a letter to the Acting Administrator of the FAA asking that the agency reconsider its ban on the use of some portable electronic devices during takeoff and landing. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski wrote that the FAA should "enable greater use of tablets, e-readers, and other portable devices" during commercial flights.

The letter, which was obtained by The Hill, reportedly says "This review comes at a time of tremendous innovation, as mobile devices are increasingly interwoven in our daily lives. They empower people to stay informed and connected with friends and family, and they enable both large and small businesses to be more productive and efficient, helping drive economic growth and boost U.S. competitiveness."

The FAA began this summer to review its policies on the use of the electronic devices, however, the agency has consistently said that it would not allow "voice communications" during flights.

Genachowski said that the FCC would work closely with the FAA, airlines, and manufacturers to review devices.

We'd note that the development is not surprising, given the number of iPad and other tablet-based EFBs currently available for airplanes up to and including airliners. The FCC had considered as early as 2004 to change the rules that prohibit the use of such devices during flight, but said that it did not receive sufficient technical information "to determine whether in-flight use of wireless devices" would interfere with ground-based wireless networks.

(Pictured: L-R FAA Acting Administrator Michael Huerta, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski)

FMI: www.fcc.gov, www.faa.gov

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