One of the final refuges from smartphones could be in its final days as the FCC is reportedly considering lifting the ban on cell phone use on planes.
The FCC has put a discussion of the issue on the agenda for its December meeting. While cell phone use during takeoff and landing would still be out of the question, the FCC could allow calls, texts and data use once the plane is above 10,000 feet.
Even if the FCC does lift the ban, it will still be up to individual airlines to allow the use of phones on the plane.
The possible shift in rules from the FCC comes as electronic devices are gaining more and more leniency aboard flights. Earlier this month, the FCC changed its policies so that electronic devices can be used continually from gate to gate and airlines have slowly but surely adopted the new rules.
Some international airlines have already started allowing passengers to use cellular devices on flights outside the U.S. Those flights are using new technology that prevents cellular signals from interfering with the plane’s communications.
If that technology is deployed on U.S. flights, the FCC lifts the ban and airlines allow cell phone use, domestic flights would cease to be one of the few places phones aren’t allowed.