Millennium Post

Govt clears rules for inflight connectivity

NEW DELHI: The long wait for onboard WiFi while in or over Indian airspace is finally over. Aviation secretary RN Choubey has said that the department of telecom (DoT) on Friday notified rules for inflight connectivity (IFC). Now the interested parties wanting to provide IFC can apply to DoT for grant of license, reported to Times of India on Saturday.

These parties can, in turn, be the service provider for airlines wishing to give onboard WiFi for flights to, from and within India and also those flying over the Indian airspace. Almost all big telecom players like Airtel and Jio are learnt to be keen on entering this space.

Among Indian carriers, SpiceJet says its Boeing 737 Max is equipped with SatCom that will enable internet onboard services as soon as regulatory and government approvals are in place.

Foreign airlines like Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways and Emirates have long had onboard WiFi but have had to switch them off when their aircraft are in Indian airspace. Recently even a new airline, Air Italy, which is owned 49% by Qatar Airways, said it has to do the same in Indian airspace.

DoT has notified the final rules almost 11 months after Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) issued its recommendations on IFC.

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