The Russian State Commission of Radio Frequencies has reportedly granted permission for carriers to deploy in-flight mobile connectivity systems on their aircraft.
Reports are sketchy right now (one says Aeroflot will trial connectivity on two aircraft) but if Russia has taken this step, I congratulate the country on being more forward-thinking in this regard than the USA, where lawmakers are trying to implement a permanent federal ban on wireless voice calls (including VoIP) just in case the current FCC ban on in-flight cell phone use doesn’t stay in place.
I wonder what Google CEO Eric Schmidt thinks of the USA’s policy. After all, Schmidt last week told the Mobile World Congress that the firm’s new guiding principle is ‘Mobile First’.
“It is the phone that is the meeting point” or “intersection” between the three technology waves – computing power, connectivity, and cloud computing, said Schmidt.
“All of a sudden there are things you can do that were never even possible because of this convergence.”
By the way, that convergence doesn’t exclude voice. Quite the contrary. Listen to Schmidt’s speech here:
I recently wrote a guest post for the Harrisburg International airport blog called “Ban snoring while you’re at it”, which is about the USA’s stance on in-flight cell phone use (see link). I know I’ve been banging this drum for some time, but it bears re-beating in light of Google’s new ‘Mobile First’ declaration.