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

Supports Chairman That Airlines Should Make Calls on Passenger's Calls

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."