Internet and our lives have been almost inseparable. While we often express frustration and curse telcos for poor or no connectivity, the Internet is being terribly missed by passengers inside flights. But now it looks like domestic fliers will have access to the Internet during the flying duration.
After getting clearance from Law Ministry and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the government has given Flight and Maritime Connectivity licence to Hughes Communications India (HCIL). The licence authorises HCIL to offer high-quality broadband services in ships and aircraft, within Indian borders.
HCIL is a subsidiary of US-based broadband network and services provider EchoStar. Importantly, it’s the first company to procure licence for in-flight connectivity in India. Experts believe that since HCIL received the licence, internet connectivity inside flight would be available from April-May 2019.
The internet services will be allowed through Wi-Fi onboard. For calling services, the airplane/flight mode on the phone will have to be kept off. At present, no Indian carrier has Wi-Fi facility on board.
According to a FirstPost report (via PTI), the company has established a base mobility platform and is in talks to enhance the services in India.
The Flight and Maritime Connectivity (FMC) licence has been granted for a decade. HCIL would pay spectrum charges based on the revenue it generates from enabling Internet across airlines and maritime operators.
Besides domestic flights, TRAI also suggested allowing international airlines to offer voice and data services last year. Telecom Commission had accepted all the suggestions except to allow foreign satellites and gateways to provide connectivity in aircraft.