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Wi-Fi cleared for takeoff and landing, FAA says

The FAA's battle against in-flight use of electronic devices is nearing an end, and may result in the use of Wi-Fi during takeoff and landing.

After initially endorsing the use of electronic devices strictly for the content stored on them, a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) advisory panel has determined that Wi-Fi will be safe to use on an airplane during takeoff and landing, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Paul Misener, a member of the FAA committee behind the ruling and the vice president of global public policy for Amazon, said "the vast majority" of airplanes will be "just fine" regardless of the use of Wi-Fi-connected devices on board, according to The Verge

One interesting aspect to note is that cellular connections are likely to remain restricted, according to the reports. But how will the airlines police that? While many users are likely to connect to a Wi-Fi network when it's available, plenty others won't even think of it. I can't imagine flight attendants checking every device's homescreen for 3G or 4G logos. If cellular network usage is still considered a threat to the planes' communications systems, it remains to be seen how the airlines prevent them from being used during takeoff and landing.

The latest report is even more encouraging than last month's report, which claimed the FAA would allow the use of electronic devices during takeoff and landing as long as they do not connect to the internet. With that report having already been leaked, the new reports suggest that the FAA is really comfortable with on-board Wi-Fi.

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