Air travel is about to get a whole lot noisier. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced this week that’s he’s put out a new proposal that would “expand consumer access and choice for in-flight mobile broadband.” We’re not expecting any changes overnight, but it looks like the FCC will begin to work with the FAA and airline industry towards revisiting “our outdated and restrictive rules.” They may be outdated, but they’re changing quickly now that we can use electronics and, on some airlines, Wi-Fi, from gate-to-gate.
With Wheeler’s proposal officially circulated, the next step involves other commissioners reviewing it before deciding whether or not to move forward. According to Ars Technica, the commission is already scheduled to discuss the proposal during its next meeting on December 12. The FCC previously considered, but later dropped, a similar proposal back in 2007.
If the FCC and FAA agree to allow in-flight cellphone calls, there will still likely be some restrictions on when you can and can’t use your phone. According to The Wall Street Journal, phone calls would still be banned during takeoff and landing, but restrictions would be lifted when flying above 10,000 feet.