Rockefeller Expresses Concern about Lifting In-flight Cell Phone Ban

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D- W. Va.) has joined the chorus raising their voices over an FCC proposal to allow in-flight mobile phone calls, saying he has "serious concerns" about it.

FCC chairman Tom wheeler has pointed out that what the commission is considering is getting rid of a technical prohibition that no longer applies in some circumstances, but that it is still up to the airlines to decide those circumstances and whether to allow calls.

In letters to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Wheeler, Rockefeller said he was concerned that allowing such calls would compromise the overall safety of a flight.

The FCC prohibition was based on the risk of interference to flight safety, but there has been a technical fix since then.

The FAA recently took steps to loosen restrictions on in-flight use of electronic portable devices for data, and the FCC followed suit with a proposal to revisit its ban on calls.

Rockefeller did not say he opposed lifting the ban, but said the FCC, and DOT, which is also examining the issue, should make safety paramount in that review.

"The ability to make a call on one's cell phone is not worth compromising the safety of a flight," he wrote.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.