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FCC Votes On In-Flight Cell Phone Use

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Washington (CNN) -- The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 Thursday to consider lifting its ban on in-flight cell phone use.


On the same day, the federal Department of Transportation and three members of Congress took steps to block those calls.


Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx said in a statement to CNN that he is looking into the possibility of banning in-flight calls, citing its aviation consumer protection authority. The DOT will determine whether allowing calls is "fair to consumers."


Many people consider the idea of cell phone conversations annoying in the close confines of a plane, and some are casting it as a consumer rights issue.


"Over the past few weeks, we have heard of concerns raised by airlines, travelers, flight attendants, members of Congress and others who are all troubled over the idea of passengers talking on cell phones in flight -- and I am concerned about this possibility, as well," Foxx said.


Meanwhile, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) introduced legislation on Thursday to ban cell phone conversations on commercial airline flights. House Rep. Bill Shuster, (R-Pennsylvania) has also introduced a bill that would prohibit in-flight voice communications but allow text messaging.


Those actions come as the FCC considers whether it should lift its decades-old ban on cell phones on aircraft.
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