FCC Asks FAA to Allow Use of Electronic Devices During Taxi, Takeoff and Landing

FCC Asks FAA to Allow Use of Electronic Devices During Taxi, Takeoff and Landing

If the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has its way, turning off your cell phone, tablet and other electronic devices may soon be a thing of the past on airplanes.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski has sent a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Michael Huerta, urging the agency to adjust its rules and allow travelers to use electronic devices during all phases of airline flight.

In the letter, Genachowski says "I write to urge the FAA to enable greater use of tablets, e-readers, and other portable electronics devices during flight, consistent with public safety."

In August, the FAA announced that it would be reviewing or taking a "fresh look" at the policy. This decision came after reports that electronics don't actually cause any interference with airplane systems.

Genachowski says that he supports the review. "The review comes at a time of tremendous innovation as mobile devices are increasingly interwoven in our daily lives," he said in his letter.

While the agency hasn't commented directly about the letter from Genachowski ,the FAA says it plans to conduct a six-month review with an Aviation Rulemaking Committee, which includes the FCC and other representatives, including pilot and flight attendant groups, airlines, and passenger associations.

Ironically, it's actually the FCC that bans the use of the cellular signals on planes. According to the FCC's website, "Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules prohibit the use of cellular phones using the 800 MHz frequency and other wireless devices on airborne aircraft. This ban was put in place because of potential interference to wireless networks on the ground."

The FCC considered lifting the ban in 2007, but it ultimately didn't. The FCC and FAA allow the use of phones in "airplane mode" on flights, which turns off the cellular radio, but not during the takeoff, taxiing, and landing periods of the flight.