In space, no one can hear you stream

August 17, 2017

When can and when can’t you listen to music online? Well, apart from the obvious, like church or while riding a unicycle on the freeway (we highly recommend not to attempt either!) There are places on earth that simply won’t allow you to listen to music via the internet. Why? And what are those places? You ask eagerly and full of hope that you’ll never encounter them?

Why can’t you listen to music online on the plane?

The ban on mobile phones on airplanes is so 1991. Actually, it was set then because of the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) concern, that cell phones could interfere with aeronautical systems. As much as this concern is outdated it’s also probably not true. You see, the data transmission between a smartphone and nearest cell tower is a pretty straightforward exchange. Some info in, some info out. The thing the FCC is worried about is that when this happens 10,000 feet above the ground the data transfer looks more like Walmart at Black Friday.

This is the reason why you are asked to turn off all your electronic devices before liftoff. No electronics – no music. No fun.

The sad truth is, it’s not the fear of you and your hot jam jamming the radars prevents you from music. As often as we hear about plane crashes or any other aviation-oriented mishaps, there’s never any blame on active electronic devices present on board during the unfortunate events. Let’s be honest here. It’s not because everybody turns their gadgets off. How many times you ‘simply forgot’ to do so on a plane? How are you alive to read this then?

Science, b…adly used series quote!

Technology like OnAir uses a picocell to try to re-create a ground situation in air. The picocell acts like a mini cell tower that enables phones on the plane and towers on the ground to interact normally.

Why won’t FCC allow you to use your phone for any purpose you darn well please then?


Safety reasons. But not safety as in ‘microwaves are bad and interfere with computers’ Since the ban in 1991, the cause changed. Technology allows for the use of the cell phones, but people are the risk factor too high even for technology to overcome.

This is the main reason why you can’t use most electronic devices in most places, that you can’t use them now. This means no Spotify on military installations, no Apple Music anywhere near NASA. Wanna rock the halls of the CIA with Alice Cooper? Nope.

We brought this on ourselves.

There are places with not enough coverage, or no coverage at all. Yes, but you can’t browse the internet there at all, so no streaming as well. There are places where the internet is…not present at all! As hard as it is to imagine – it’s harder to live there. Luckily there is the science thing again. And we mean the effort to bring both the internet and all other life necessities to those regions of the planet. But yeah, we also meant that if you happen to arrive at a place, before the internet you can still have your music with you.

Offline. Sounds painful? Not if you’re an oldtimer that knows what the save icon in some games represents. Yes, it’s a floppy disk. Congratulations. Feel old now.

Most streaming apps now support offline mode for those in Dire need for Straits. (we’re on fire today!)/ music. You are able to store your music on your phone’s memory to play it whether you are in Africa (try TOTO) or In the army now (Status quo) you have your tunes like Welcome to the jungle, baby!

What a time we live in. You so much as think that you could use something and there you have it. Unless you want to listen through Spotify in space that is. That service is unavailable…yet.

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