Clyburn: Up To Marketplace to Set In-Flight Phone Policies

Supports Chairman That Airlines Should Make Calls on Passenger's Calls
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FCC commissioner Clyburn weighed in over the weekend on chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal to modify the commission's rules on in-flight cell phone use, saying it should be up to the marketplace to decide.

Wheeler last week circulated an item to expand access and choice of in-flight mobile broadband, after which he got some pushback from Capitol Hill. He clarified that the FCC item was about the technical feasibility of in-flight phone calls, but that the airlines would make the ultimate calls about phone use. Clyburn agreed.

"Clearly, the travelling public is concerned about three things-- (1) safety, (2) security, and (3) a reasonable zone of silence," Clyburn said in a statement. "Government has well-defined roles concerning the safety and security of Americans. But when it comes to providing a reasonable zone of silence, things are not so well-defined.

"I think it's best to let competition and the marketplace regulate passenger engagements in flight. For while it is impossible for us to impose a gag rule on the flying public, I feel certain the airlines can, and will, find a workable solution."