DoT moves proposal to allow Wi-Fi services in flights

A proposal for allowing in-flight Wi-Fi services has been moved by DoT, Union Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said on Thursday even as he made it clear that no instructions have been issued to local airlines to make preparations in this regard.

The Department of Telecommunications, abbreviated to DoT, is a department of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology of the executive branch of the Government of India. 

Presently, Wi-Fi services and phone calls are not allowed on flights flying over the Indian airspace.

The Civil Aviation Minister said providing on board Wi-Fi services in Indian airspace involves amendment of provisions of Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 as well as Indian Telegraphy Rules made thereunder.

“The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has already moved a proposal for providing in-flight connectivity for voice, data and video services for consideration of the Committee of Secretaries,” Raju said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

To a query, he said neither the Civil Aviation Ministry nor the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have issued any instructions to Indian carriers for initiating preparations for in-flight connectivity. Chicago Convention facilitates the use of radio equipment when crossing over multiple jurisdictions. Many countries have already given rights to satellite service providers for in- flight connectivity in aviation sector.

Globally, many airlines are already offering Wi-Fi for passengers, but they currently have to switch off the facility when they enter the Indian airspace. Generally, Wi-Fi facility for fliers can be provided either through air-to-ground technology or satellite connectivity and the latter will be expensive. 


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