Passengers would soon be able to use their phones and the internet on airplanes during flights, which could make the Airplane Mode feature all but obsolete.
This is following a decision by the European Commission to allow airlines provide 5G service to customers, instead of the usual slow Wi-Fi service that they currently offer.
The new decision will lift the ban on cell phone use on flights which has been in effect since 1991. According to several explanations, the ban was put in place to prevent radio interference which could disrupt service by crowding ground networks.
It has been a basis of debate ever since as some have postulated that the ban was to prevent remote access to bombs on airplanes. There are those who say that allowing cell phones on planes could tamper with the navigation systems.
Meanwhile, Dai Whittingham, chief executive of the UK Flight Safety Committee, told the BBC in a sit-down that commission does not fully understand the effects of using cell phones on flights. So, to be safe rather than sorry, they effected the ban.
However, with 5G and its different set of frequencies, the risk of interference is lower. Although, for now, the regulators are still looking into the possibilities, risk and next steps to be taken.
Whittingham conceded that from experience, the authorities have seen that the risk of interference is ‘very small.’
Gizmodo reports that EU state members will have to make 5G technology accessible on airlines by June 30, 2023. The airlines will use network equipment called pico-cell to handle passengers’ internet demands through a satellite that connects the airplane to a mobile network on the ground.
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