Government Discusses In-Flight Regulation with Telcos and Airlines

As it was said earlier, the government held detailed conversations with telcos and airlines on fabricate guidelines on In-Flight Connectivity Services (IFC), as per a report of PTI. Having said that, once the government finalises the guidelines of IFC, travellers can use internet and voice services on mobile phones while onboard. This new decision comes after the Telecom Commission accepting the proposal of in-flight connectivity services within Indian airspace. It is also reported that officials from the Telecom Department, the Civil Aviation Ministry, telecom companies and airlines attended the meeting. The discussions lasted for 90 minutes.

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The entire meeting was about getting a ‘working model’ for operationalising in-flight connectivity. The government also sought inputs from both the telcos and airlines, the report added. “Nuances related to operationalising in-flight connectivity, including approach to registration of service providers who would offer such connectivity, the process and the criteria for enlisting them, were discussed,” people aware of the matter said to PTI.

Telecom operators Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance Jio and Idea Cellular, attended the meeting, while popular airlines Air India, Jet Airways, Vistara were invited for the meeting. Besides the guidelines of setting up IFC in India, the officials reportedly discussed the in-flight connectivity models of other markets as well as the technical issues involved in the setup.

Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan earlier stated that the IFC in India would be rolled out in the next three to four months once the procedure of the niche licenses and back-end agreements worked out. During a media session last week, Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey had said the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) would “invite application for new licenses either by month-end or early next month for airlines for wi-fi connectivity.”

Across the globe, several airlines are offering in-flight connectivity, but the travellers are required to either shut down or put the smartphones in flight mode during the takeoff. The same rule applies in India as well once the service gets rolled out to the public. Global airlines are offering the service for a long time, but when they enter the Indian airspace, they have to stop the service.

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