Indian government to soon allow in-flight Wi-Fi service

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The Indian government will soon allow Wi-Fi services on board of civilian aircrafts flying in and out of India, following a consensus among the home, telecom and aviation ministries on the security-related issue. Aviation secretary RN Choubey said that the government will decide on the issue of allowing Wi-Fi in Indian airspace in the next 10 days.

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“The matter has been taken up with other government departments. You may soon get the good news as there is a broad understanding (on the issue),” Choubey was quoted as saying. He added that the pricing of the service will be left for the airlines to decide as the government will not cap the same.

Currently, no Indian carrier has Wi-Fi on board as providing the service is too expensive for them. Choubey also said that there will not be any caps on the pricing and it will be up to the airlines to charge for the service.
If allowed, passengers will even be able access internet on their electronic devices such as laptop, tablets and smartphone.

A number of foreign airlines having internet on board are allowed to keep providing the service in Indian airspace only if they have a local server. In case they don’t have a local server, they have to keep their Internet-on-board switched on for the time their plane is in Indian airspace.

In US, airlines get Wi-Fi from air-to-ground (ATG) technology which is widespread on domestic routes. The technology is considered slow. While in Europe, a patchwork of regulatory regimes has hindered the creation of any substantial ATG networks.

However, a number of players such as Inmarsat Plc, Viasat Inc, Gogo Inc, Panasonic and Global Eagle Entertainment Inc have come up for new satellite-based Wi-Fi services that promise to offer faster speed.

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