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CEA Praises Possible FCC Cellphone Move

Aarlington, Va. — The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) praised the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decision last week to consider pro-consumer changes to its rules regarding in-flight use of personal mobile phones and other wireless devices.

The FCC addressed the matter as part of a scheduled open meeting that included discussion of air-to-ground telecommunications service.

“The proliferation of wireless technology in all aspects of our lives makes it necessary to re-evaluate how, when and where consumers can use wireless transmitters,” said CEA’s president and CEO Gary Shapiro. “To that end, CEA supports efforts by the FCC and the Federal Aviation Administration to examine relevant technical and regulatory issues. In addition, CEA has developed a multi-industry ‘Recommended Practice’ for wireless devices on airplanes to help passengers and flight attendants clearly understand and identify the proper in-flight use of wireless products.”

CEA, which recently announced the Recommended Practice – Status Indicator for and Control of Transmitters in Portable Electronic Devices, supports the managed use of wireless devices on commercial aircraft. CEA’s Recommended Practice is intended to facilitate disabling and enabling of transmitters in wireless devices and provide common symbols and terminology.

“During certain phases of commercial flight, present regulations and airline policy require all devices to be turned off and stowed,” added Shapiro. “Notwithstanding future changes in policy, and as consumers enjoy more wireless options going forward, having a simple and easily recognizable way to operate their devices in different environments will be even more important.”

He noted, “At the same time, passengers and all wireless users need to be sensitive to how a phone conversation can be intrusive and annoying to those nearby. With this in mind, CEA has developed guidelines for basic etiquette when using mobile phones in public.”

CEA’s Recommended Practice is the result of collaborative, cross-industry work by airlines, device manufacturers and representatives from flight attendant and pilot organizations. The document is available online at CEA’s wireless etiquette guidelines remind users to consider their surroundings when using cellphones and other portable electronic devices in public.