"Modern technologies can deliver mobile services in the air safely and reliably, and the time is right to review our outdated and restrictive rules,"
While use of mobile phones would still be restricted during takeoff and landing, the proposal would lift a ban on airborne calls and use of mobile data once a flight reaches 10,000 feet, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Tom Wheeler, chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission confirmed in a statement that a proposal to expand consumer access and choice for in-flight mobile broadband had been circulated internally.
"Modern technologies can deliver mobile services in the air safely and reliably, and the time is right to review our outdated and restrictive rules," he said. "I look forward to working closely with my colleagues, the FAA, and the airline industry on this review of new mobile opportunities for consumers.”
While removing regulatory hurdles would make in-flight calls possible, it would still be up to the individual airlines to decide whether or not to allow them. Airlines have reportedy said they would approach the matter cautiously because of strong objections from their customers.
Mobile operators would also have to install equipment on the planes so that they could communicate with cellphone towers on the ground.