The Indian telecom regulator on Friday recommended that both Internet and mobile communications on board aircraft (MCA) service should be permitted as In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) in the Indian airspace. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said it has arrived at the recommendation after analysing the comments received from consultations and open house discussions on the issue. “The operation of MCA services should be permitted with a minimum height restriction of 3000 metres in Indian airspace for its compatibility with terrestrial mobile networks,” it added.
The sector regulator said Internet services through Wi-Fi onboard should be made available when electronic devices are permitted to be used only in flight/ aeroplane mode. “A separate category of “IFC Service Provider” should be created to permit IFC services in Indian airspace. The IFC service provider should be required to get itself registered with DoT (Department of Telecommunications) and it need not necessarily be an Indian entity,” it added.
The regulator said that Internet services through Wi-Fi onboard should be made available when electronic devices are permitted to be used only in-flight or aeroplane mode and announcement regarding this should be made after boarding is completed and the aircraft is about to taxi. “It would ensure that there is no encroachment on the scope of terrestrial Internet service provided by telecom service providers as well as practically there won’t be any appreciable discontinuity in the provisioning of Internet services to the fliers,” Trai said.