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FCC Votes To Allow In Flight Cellular Calling Though Congress May Intervene

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If you're one of the people who has said you should be allowed to make cell phone calls, you're one step closer. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the body in charge of regulating in flight calls, today voted to end a ban on those calls, saying that the airlines should be allowed to make the final decision on a company by company basis.

If you were dead against this procedure, Congress and the Department of Transportation could have the final say so. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says he fears a plane full of chatter would be unfair to those not having conversation. Senators Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, and Dianne Feinstein of California have introduced a bill that would ban calls in flight, following introduction of a similar bill in the House.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said there is no technical reason mid-air calls shouldn't be allowed and reiterated "Where there is new onboard technology that eliminates that potential for interference, there is no need for an interference rule. We are the expert technical agency, and new technology removes the technical justification of this rule."

The Washington Post said the FCC ruling, combined with a Department of Transportation bill might eventually allow the use of cellphones on planes, but only for the purposes of texting, email and web surfin.

Nothing is expected to happen before the holidays, and airlines are likely to wait to see what action is taken before they set their rules in stone.

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