Flyers on board an aircraft will be able to make calls and remain connected to the Internet while travelling through the Indian airspace in the next three to four months. The Telecom Commission, which is the highest decision-making body in the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), on 01 May 2018 gave its nod to a proposal by regulator TRAI. This will also be applicable to communication on ships.
The in-flight connectivity has been approved. It was decided to accept the TRAI’s views except that the satellites used for providing services should be the Department of Space-approved satellites and the gateway should be in India. The regulator had recommended that the onboard Internet traffic be routed to a satellite gateway on Indian soil as deployment of a gateway in India provides an effective mechanism to lawfully intercept and monitor the in-cabin Internet traffic.
The government will not intervene with the pricing mechanisms used by the operators. Globally, the Internet services on board aircraft are available for a premium. The regulator had suggested that mobile communication on aircraft (MCA) systems be operated once the plane reached an altitude of 3,000 metres to avoid causing harmful interference to ground-based mobile networks. However, the flyer will be able to access Internet through onboard Wi-Fi when electronic devices are permitted to be used only in flight/airplane mode.