FCC: Allow More Use of Personal Electronic Devices on Flights

Monday, 10 Dec 2012 12:43 PM

By Bill Hoffman

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Passengers aboard commercial flights should be able to use their computers, tablets, e-readers and video games more readily, the chairman of the Federal Communication Commission says.

In a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration, Julius Genachowski urged the agency to allow “greater use’’ of personal electronic devices as long as it is deemed safe.

"This review comes at a time of tremendous innovation, as mobile devices are increasingly interwoven in our daily lives," Genachowski wrote in the letter, which was obtained by The Hill.

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"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 recommendation comes several months after the FAA created a group to study its policies concerning the use of electronic devices during flights.

Personal devices generally are banned during takeoff and landing and when the plane is lower than 10,000 feet. In recent years, the agency began allowing passengers to surf the web wireless networks.

One issue that will not be addressed by the FAA’s study group is the use of cell phones. The FCC currently bans usage aboard planes because it possibly can affect wireless networks on the ground.

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