The demand for In-Flight connectivity (IFC) is rising day-by-day. Keeping in view the same, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Friday issued a consultation paper on IFC. By means of the consultation paper on IFC, TRAI has asked the industry stakeholders about what type of IFC services should be permitted in India. TRAI, in its consultation paper on In-Flight Connectivity, said, “Given the rapidly expanding demand for In-Flight Communication, there is a proposal to introduce In-Flight Connectivity for voice, data and video services over Indian airspace for domestic, international and over-flying flight in Indian airspace.” The consultation paper on ‘In Flight Connectivity’ has sought written comments on the issues from the stakeholders by October 27, and counter-comments by November 3, 2017.
Here are top things to know about what the Telecom regulator is doing through consultation process on framing guidelines for full-fledged in-flight mobile services:-
– The Department of Telecom (DoT), through its reference dated August 10, 2017, has requested Trai to furnish its recommendations on licensing terms and conditions for provision of IFC, according to TRAI
– TRAI said that advancement in satellite technologies is making it possible to provide ubiquitous coverage across the globe.
– TRA says that it is possible for passengers to have telecom services in the aircraft travelling at 800 kilometres per hour and 10,000 meters in the sky due to satellite-enabled connectivity
– TRAI mentioned International Air Transport Associations (IATA) 2014 global passenger survey which said that 80 per cent of the passengers would use Wi-Fi if offered on board a flight.
– The regulator has sought public view on whether the permit for providing IFC should be given under existing licences or a separate category should be created for it, requirement of registrations, use of satellite systems etc.
What’s there in TRAI’s consultation paper on IFC?
-“Which of the following IFC services be permitted in India? a. Internet services b. Mobile Communication services (MCA service) c. Both, Internet and MCA,” the consultation paper asked.
-“It has been noticed that there has been increasing interest and demand for broadband connectivity (both voice and data) to passengers on board a flight. As per one estimate, the number of connected commercial aircraft is expected to grow from 5,300 in 2015 to 23,100 in 2025, accounting for 62% of the global fleet,” the consultation paper said.
-“As technologies to provide such access have developed, so too have consumers’ expectations. They desire seamless connectivity regardless of their location – whether on land, in the air or on the sea. New advances in technology mean more flyers have access to telecom services than ever before ,” the paper said.
-“If MCA services are permitted in Indian airspace, what measures should be adopted to prevent an airborne mobile phone from interfering with terrestrial cellular mobile network?” the consultation paper asked.
-“Do you foresee any challenges, if the internet services be made available ‘gate to gate’ i.e. from the boarding gate of the departure airport until the disembarking gate at the arrival airport,” it asked.
-It also asked about the restrictions and regulations to be adopted for the provision of IFC in the airlines registered in India.
-The consultation paper also puts forward how the IFC service providers should be charged in the cases of a foreign registered airlines and Indian registered airlines.
FULL PDF of TRAI’s statement: https://www.trai.gov.in/sites/default/files/Press_Release_No.80_29092017.pdf