FCC urges FAA to lighten up on in-flight electronics use

electronics on planes
Could regulations regarding in-flight electronics soon relax?

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is in the process of reviewing its regulations on in-flight use of electronics, and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski on Thursday urged the Administration to revise its policies.

The FAA should "enable greater use of tablets, e-readers and other portable devices" during flights, Genachowski wrote in a letter to acting FAA administrator Michael Huerta.

"This review comes at a time of tremendous innovation, as mobile devices are increasingly interwoven in our daily lives," Genachowski reportedly wrote in the letter.

Genachowski launched into a diatribe on how mobile devices empower interpersonal connectivity and boost the economy, but his point was clear: people should be able to use mobile devices during larger windows of time on flights.

The rules are strict

FAA regulations currently stipulate that passengers' electronic devices must be turned off during take-off and landing, and that any gadgets with voice or data capabilities must be left in some sort of "airplane mode" during flights.

An FAA study conducted between 2004 and 2006 examined whether those regulations are still necessary, and reportedly found that "there was no evidence saying these devices can interfere with a plane," according to the New York Daily News.

Regardless, rules regarding electronic devices on flights have remained in place, despite the FAA approving in-flight Wi-Fi on numerous airlines.

What exactly does the FCC want?

No doubt most frequent fliers would appreciate being able to keep their phones and laptops turned on while in the air, but it's unclear exactly what Genachowski was asking for in his Thursday letter.

Some sources reported that Genachowski seeks for rules governing electronic devices during take-off and landing to be eliminated, while others imply that Genachowski is asking for mid-flight voice communications to be allowed - despite the difficulties of getting wireless reception at 30,000 feet.

TechRadar asked the FCC for clarification, but the agency has yet to respond.

Via The Hill

Michael Rougeau

Michael Rougeau is a former freelance news writer for TechRadar. Studying at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Northeastern University, Michael has bylines at Kotaku, 1UP, G4, Complex Magazine, Digital Trends, GamesRadar, GameSpot, IFC, Animal New York, @Gamer, Inside the Magic, Comic Book Resources, Zap2It, TabTimes, GameZone, Cheat Code Central, Gameshark, Gameranx, The Industry, Debonair Mag, Kombo, and others.

Micheal also spent time as the Games Editor for Playboy.com, and was the managing editor at GameSpot before becoming an Animal Care Manager for Wags and Walks.