NPR : News

Filed Under:

FCC Chief Says He's Personally Opposed To In-Flight Phone Calls

Just a day after his agency said it was reviewing "outdated and restrictive rules" banning the use of cellphones during flights, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission is tempering his statement.

"We understand that many passengers would prefer that voice calls not be made on airplanes," Tom Wheeler, who was confirmed for the job in late October, said in a statement on Friday. "I feel that way myself."

As we reported, the ink on Wheeler's original statement had barely dried, when the Association of Flight Attendants issued its own statement voicing opposition on behalf of itself and passengers.

"Any situation that is loud, divisive, and possibly disruptive is not only unwelcome but also unsafe," the organization said. "Many polls and surveys conducted over the years find that a vast majority of the traveling public wants to keep the ban on voice calls in the aircraft cabin."

After public opposition mounted, Wheeler issued another statement toning down his first, short statement. Wheeler said that before any rule on phone use is lifted, there will be a period of public comment. Also, even if it is lifted — the FCC, he added makes determinations based on technical reasons — it would be up to the airlines to decide whether in-flight phone use is a good idea.

"We believe that airlines are best positioned to make such decisions. For this reason, our proposal does not impose any requirement that airlines should provide voice connectivity," Wheeler said. "We encourage airlines, pilots, flight attendants, and the public to engage in our upcoming rulemaking process."

As Bill noted in our previous report on the subject, the same kind of proposal was made by the FCC back in 2004. It was ultimately dropped because of oppositions from groups worried about the distraction it would cause on a plane.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

The Role Of Music In Presidential Campaigns

Presidential candidates today frequently use popular pieces of music as campaign "theme songs"...often without approval from the musicians themselves. But using music on the campaign trail is not a modern phenomenon: it goes back to our earliest presidential elections. In the 1800s songs were used out of necessity: to reach potential voters who could not read. We investigate the history, evolution, and modern-day role of music in political campaigns.

NPR

From Dock To Dish: A New Model Connects Chefs To Local Fishermen

Prominent chefs are signing up for restaurant-supported fisheries: They commit to buying fresh-caught seafood, whatever the species, from local small fishermen. A pilot program launched in California.

WAMU 88.5

The Role Of Music In Presidential Campaigns

Presidential candidates today frequently use popular pieces of music as campaign "theme songs"...often without approval from the musicians themselves. But using music on the campaign trail is not a modern phenomenon: it goes back to our earliest presidential elections. In the 1800s songs were used out of necessity: to reach potential voters who could not read. We investigate the history, evolution, and modern-day role of music in political campaigns.

NPR

Yahoo CEO To Take Limited Leave After Giving Birth To Twins

NPR's Rachel Martin talks with Slate DoubleX Gabfest's Hanna Rosin about Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's decision to take just two weeks worth of parental leave after having twins in December.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.