Notwithstanding recent calls by wireless and other advocacy groups for a comprehensive study of in-flight cell phone use, House members voted late last week in favor of legislation that would ban the use of wireless phones on aircraft for the purpose of placing or receiving voice calls. The proposed ban on in-flight cell phone use is written into a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill that was approved by House members last Thursday. The Senate, meanwhile, still has yet to introduce its own FAA reauthorization measure, and lobbyists are not expecting final approval of the FAA legislation until later this summer. As members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee considered FAA bill provisions last month, the Coalition for an Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council urged lawmakers to commission a National Academy of Sciences study that would solicit feedback from all stakeholders on “real world experiences generated from” in-flight cell phone services that operate abroad. Arguing against a ban, wireless association CTIA joined with the Telecommunications Industry Association and the Satellite Industry Association earlier this month in calling for a similar study that would “consider the social issues raised” by the use of mobile phones aboard aircraft. While terming the House vote as “disappointing,” a lobbyist for the airline passengers’ coalition expressed optimism that the ban will not appear in the FAA bill to be drafted by the Senate, as he noted that his group’s position has received a “very warm reception” among Senate lawmakers.
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House adopts prohibition against cell phone use on airplanes
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