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FCC launches public consultation into rule change on inflight cell phone usage

The Federal Communications Commission has formally published the  Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding its proposal to lift the ban on cellphone usage in flight. The NPRM allows 30 days for public comment, through February 14, 2014.  

“This rule change would give airlines the option to decide if they want to introduced inflight cell phone services in the US”, said Ian Dawkins, CEO of OnAir. “Airlines across the world already allow passengers to use their phones to tweet, text, email and talk. Over four and a half million people take up the option every year and there have been no reported complaints about disruption.”

Mobile OnAir, OnAir’s inflight GSM service, started flying in 2007. It is is currently flying with 18 airlines, including world-leading global airlines such as Aeroflot, British Airways, Emirates, All Nippon Airways, Qatar Airways, TAM and Singapore Airlines.

People typically use Mobile OnAir for email, social media and text messages. Voice calls make up about 10% of all usage and the average call length is under two minutes. The cabin crew and/or the pilot can turn off the voice element, or the entire system, at the push of a button.

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