There are plenty of ways to pass time on a plane during long flights, but making phone calls or using personal data plans aren't going to be one of them. Today, the Federal Communications Commission canceled plans to set rules that could have allowed in-flight voice and data services via passengers' personal phones — it only took seven years of hearing arguments from both sides.
There's no one reason for the course reversal, but FCC documents state that no reasonable solution could be found that would strike "an appropriate balance" between competing interests. Apparently, many parties involved in the proceedings strongly opposed the proposition, including many airline pilots and flight attendants who argued that it failed to address safety concerns.
The FCC originally announced the project way back in 2013. Though there were those who spoke out in favor of the idea, it seems like these supporters offered wildly different plans on how to accomplish the goal. Without a clear path forward, the commission is opting to drop the proposal entirely, stating that continuing down this runway would not "be a wise use of the agency’s limited resources."
While I'm mildly annoyed that airlines will be able to continue charging exorbitant prices for slow data speeds, I'm also glad that we'll still get those guaranteed 90 minutes of silence from annoying cell phone ringtones.