It appears that a fire has been lit under the derrieres of Congress members, with both chambers finally making headway on FAA reauthorization legislation, and dropping a controversial provision that would impose a federal ban on the in-flight use of mobile phones (and VoIP).
After the House transportation committee cleared FAA reauthorization legislation earlier in the week, (the bill now goes to the House floor), the full Senate last night passed its version of the bill.
The House bill apparently has a section 433, entitled "Use of Cell Phones On Passenger Aircraft", which appears to be a study about in-flight mobile connectivity, according to lobbying group the In-flight Passenger Communications Coalition, but I'll be darned if I've been able to find it. See a copy of the bill on the House transportation committee's web site.
The IPCC says it is still scanning the text of the Senate bill plus amendments (apparently 57 amendments were processed on 17 February as the bill was raced to passage) and it has not yet found a provision that deals with in-flight mobile connectivity. As of this morning, nor have I.
What the Senate is proposing is a study of aeronautical mobile telemetry, which contrary to my prior report, appears to be unrelated to any sort of cabin connectivity (see text below). I will update RWG as more details surface, and stakeholders weigh in on the matter (and certainly when a final consensus is reached between the two chambers).
Meanwhile, if you are an expert in aeronautical mobile telemetry for flight testing, and would like to discuss why the Senate's provision is important, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com. All emails are confidential.