DoT, Civil Aviation officials to meet soon to discuss in-flight connectivity

The Department of Telecom (DoT) and officials of the Ministry of Civil Aviation will meet within the next 10 days to discuss operational details of in-flight connectivity, recently cleared by the Telecom Commission (TC).

“The discussions on the operational model will entail questions like who will be investing in infrastructure and who will be providing the services. There is no standard model…we will have to see what is suitable in the Indian context,” Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary, DoT, told reporters here.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Communication Ministry’s conference to highlight the achievement of the government in last four years, she said the meeting date will be finalised soon and telecom providers, airlines, and in-flight connectivity service providers will also attend the meeting. The TC, on May 1, had cleared a proposal for allowing wider in-flight connectivity that is now available in most of the developed markets, but there were some disagreements between committee of secretaries and sector regulator TRAI on permission of Indian satellites and Indian gateway.

While the committee of secretaries approves of only Indian satellites and Indian gateway, TRAI was of the view that mobile communication on-board aircraft (MCA) are global in nature and is mostly governed by bi-lateral mutual agreements.

Therefore, India should not allow the foreign aircraft ‘to provide the MCA services using their satellite and gateways over the Indian airspace,’ because the other countries will also not allow the Indian aircraft to provide MCA services while over-flying their jurisdictions then.

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