India debates inflight connectivity use onboard its airlines

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A passenger using Rockwell Collins' PAVES Wireless system.
A passenger using Rockwell Collins’ inflight connectivity

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has held an open discussion of a consultation paper on inflight connectivity onboard Indian airline carriers.

According to a report on Digit.in, the public meeting was held to discuss policy, security and licensing issues related to providing internet and mobile communication services.

The report says currently no Indian airline carrier provides internet or mobile communication services on domestic flights within India.

TRAI Chairman, RS Sharma said: “There are no technology issues as such. The technology is there. There is inflight connectivity in many countries around the world.

“In some sense the technology issue is already sorted out. There are other issues which relate to the licensing regimen of our country, also the framework relating to policy.

“Security has become an extremely important consideration. So that’s another issue we want to talk about.”

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TRAI also discussed spectrum rights and licensing provisions for the operation of mobile services in the air.

The “Digit” report says the telecom regulator added that there are several international players also who have expressed interest in the provision of in-flight internet services in India.

The open house discussed the feasibility of the creation of a separate category for IFC service providers to permit IFC services in the Indian airspace, on airlines registered in India.

“As technologies to provide 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,” said Sharma.

Comments from the open house discussion will soon be made public by the TRAI in due course.

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