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Debate Continues Over Cell Phones On Planes

By: AP
By: AP

WASHINGTON (AP) -- You might still have to wait for the plane to land before you call home.

Even though the Federal Communications Commission is looking at lifting restrictions on using cellphones in the air, that may not be the final word on the subject. The head of the FCC, Thomas Wheeler, says Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has told him that the agency will be moving forward with its own restrictions.

Calls aboard planes have been prohibited for 22 years over fears that they would interfere with cellular networks on the ground. Technological advances have resolved those concerns.

Wheeler told members of the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee today that "when the rationale for a rule doesn't exist, the rule shouldn't exist."

Even though his agency sees no technical reason to ban the use of phones on planes, Wheeler says he's telling the CEOs of major airlines that the government isn't requiring them to allow calls. Ultimately, he says the decision will rest with individual airlines.

An Associated Press-GfK poll released yesterday found that 48 percent of Americans who were surveyed oppose allowing cellphones to be used aboard planes, while just 19 percent support it.

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