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March 27, 2008

Chatterbox Air ready for take-off

LONDON, UKOfcom has given the thumbs-up to mobile calling aboard UK-registered aircraft in European airspace. Should communication truly know no bounds, or should flight remain one of the last havens of peaceful travel?

Pending a rubber stamp from The European Safety Agency and Civil Aviation Authority, we could soon be sat on a plane surrounded by passengers chatting on mobile phones.

It goes without saying that the safety issue is the one of paramount importance, highlighted in Ofcom’s recent statement:

” The system works by passengers‚Äô own mobile phone handsets connecting to an on-board base station. Both of these must be switched off during take-off and landing to ensure they do not interfere with mobile networks on the ground.

Once the aircraft reaches a minimum height of 3,000 metres, the system may be switched on by the cabin crew. Mobile handsets will then be able to use the aircraft‚Äôs network service to make and receive calls which will be routed via a satellite link to the network on the ground… Mobile phones will connect to the system for 2G (GSM) data, voice and text services. If the service is successful it could be extended to 3G and other services in future.”

However, just because we can, does it mean we should? Liberating and enabling channels of communication is surely a great thing. But is there a line, and is this crossing it?

Approval for mobiles on Aircraft –

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