There is a brewing news going in the DoT that the high-ranking officials of the telecom department and aviation ministry are set to meet next week. This supposed meeting which will see the presence of some top officers from two of the biggest industries will talk about the framework and guidelines for operationalising in-flight data and voice connectivity. This update comes after the highest policy-making body of India, the Telecom Commission cleared a proposal on May 1 which allowed wider in-flight connectivity which is now available in almost all developer flight markets, but however, was missing in the Indian air-space.
This can be a huge step in in-flight communication since the implementation of this proposal would mean that passengers will be able to use internet and voice calling services while flying in the aircraft.
Aruna Sundararajan also made a statement regarding the meeting, she quoted to reporters in CII Broadband Summit - "We plan to hold a meeting coming Monday (May 14) or Tuesday (May 15) with officials of Civil Aviation Ministry on this." She also did not forget to that the telecom operators won’t be invited to the meeting at this point of time. This news was reported by Economic Times.
Sundararajan has kept high hopes from the project. We come to know this since this is not the first time that she has expressed positivity regarding the impending proposal. She expected that the facility would be rolled out in approximately 3-4 months after the niche licenses and the back-end agreements are sorted.
Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu also said that they would ensure “earliest implementation” of the policy and would speed up the process. He also added that airlines like Air India and Vistara have also bid the affirmative to government’s decision.
Previously there was a total ban placed on using mobile phones during take-off and landing. Telecom Commission has approved that they will lift off the ban which used to forbid passengers from using mobile phones at cruising altitudes.
Presently, there are many airlines in the market which provide internet services in the airspace. However, because of the existing government policies, the aircrafts had to turn off their facilities for the passengers when they enter the Indian airspace. To name a few, some airlines like AirAsia, Air France, British Airways, Egypt Air, Emirates, Air New Zealand, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways and Virgin Atlantic are among the 30 flyers which are offering internet services on air right now.
To ensure smooth initiation of services, a different category of licenses which will be called the in-flight service providers, will be used for granting the permission to telcos to offer internet and voice services mid-air. The prospective price for such niche providers will be kept at Re 1.