FCC asks FAA to 'lighten up' on wireless device use on planes

"Please turn off and stow all wireless devices".

If you've flown on a commercial flight, you've heard that announcement from the flight crew. And if you are a business can likely recite it in your sleep.

But with little or no evidence that your cell phone or iPad actually interfere with aircraft electronics, one government agency is asking another to back off of the "no device" policy currently in place.

According to PC Magazine, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission is now looking for some more official answers.

"I write to urge the FAA to enable greater use of tablets, e-readers, and other portable electronic devices during flight, consistent with public safety," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski wrote in a Dec. 6 letter to Michael P. Huerta, the acting administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Earlier in 2012, the FAA said it was going to take a "fresh look" at the use of electronics on planes. In his letter, Chairman Genachowski said he supports the agency's "initiative to review the policies, guidance, and procedures regarding the use of such devices."

"This review comes at a time of tremendous innovation, as mobile devices are increasingly interwoven in our daily lives," Genachowski continued. "They empower people to stay informed and connected with friends and family, and they enable both large and small businesses to be more productive, helping drive economic growth and boost U.S. competitiveness."

Right now, the FCC allows for the use of in-flight data and voice services via dedicated air-to-ground frequencies that were previously used for the seat-back phones. "Because these services will operate in frequencies that are dedicated to air-to-ground communications and are separate from those used for wireless services on the ground, they do not pose an interference risk to wireless networks on the ground," according to the FCC website.

The use of cellular phones in the 800 MHz band or other wireless devices on flights, however, is prohibited by the FCC because of potential interference with wireless networks on the ground PC Magazine reports.

Is it time for the FAA to allow the use of cell phones and other electronic devices on commercial flights? Have you been scolded by a flight crew for failing to follow their instructions to turn something off?