FCC Proposes In-flight Cellphone Use

December 16, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. aloft [uh-LAWFTuh-LOFT] (adv.) – in the air, being high up
Example: The airplane has taken off and is now aloft.   

2. outdated [out-DEY-tid] (adj.) – old or no longer up to modern standards
Example: The outdated airplane was replaced with a newer model. 

3. in-flight [IN-flahyt] (adj.) – done or given while flying in an airplane
Example: A good way to pass the time when riding an airplane is to watch some in-flight movies.

4. equip [ih-KWIP] (v.) – to give necessary materials or features to something 
Example: The airplane was equipped with a special antenna that allowed the use of cellphones during flight.

5. insufficient [in-suh-FISH-uh nt] (adj.) – not enough, less than what is necessary
Example: The proposal was not approved because it had insufficient supporting data.  


Read the text below.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering the approval of making cellphone calls and other mobile services while aloft.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said the outdated and restrictive rules needed to be reviewed. This proposal will allow airline passengers the same freedom of communication as they do on land. This will thus permit calling and texting even when the aircraft is flying over 10,000 feet high, except during takeoff and landing.

The commission is considering this proposal because of requests from passengers. However, a survey by Delta Air Lines revealed that 64% of the passengers think making in-flight phone calls will have a negative effect on their travel experience.

The current proposal was discussed in a meeting last December 12 and is now open for public comments. If the FCC votes for its approval, airlines could decide whether to make mobile services accessible to passengers.

Once the airlines accept the proposal, airplanes will be equipped with a special antenna approved by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The FCC has banned in-flight talking on cellphones for years due to concerns of interference with cellular towers on ground.

A similar proposal to lift the cellphone ban was considered in 2004, but it was abandoned three years after. At that time, the FCC said there was insufficient data to prove that the in-flight use of cellphones will not disrupt wireless networks on the ground.

However, FAA conducted a study with data from 11 countries last year. The study found that using cellphones onboard the specially equipped airplanes is indeed safe. This is why the FCC has considered lifting the ban.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think it’s necessary to allow cellphone use during flights? Why?
·         Once approved, how do you think this proposal will affect airline companies? Please explain briefly.

Discussion B

·         Why is communication important? Please explain your answer.
·         What do you think is the best means of communication? Why do you say so?


December 16, 2013