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Govt allows airlines to provide in-flight Wi-Fi services to passengers

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New Delhi: The Central government on Monday permitted airlines operating in India to provide in-flight Wi-Fi services to passengers, according to an official notification.

“The Pilot-in-Command may permit the access of Internet services by passengers on-board an aircraft in flight, through Wi-Fi on board, when laptop, smartphone, tablet, smartwatch, e-reader or a point of sale device is used in flight mode or airplane mode,” the notification stated.


Govt allows airlines to provide in-flight Wi-Fi services to passengers; pilot-in-command may permit Internet services accessRepresentational image. Reuters
While taking the delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 aircraft at Everett last Friday, Vistara CEO Leslie Thng had told reporters that it would be the first plane in India to provide in-flight Wi-Fi services.

In May 2018, the government had held detailed discussions with telecom operators and airlines on framing guidelines for in-flight data and voice services.

The meeting comes within a fortnight of the Telecom Commission, the highest policy-making body of Department of Telecom (DoT), clearing a proposal for allowing in-flight connectivity.

As per the telecom regulator’s recommendations a separate category of licencees — in-flight service providers — would be created for offering such services in India, and licence fee for such niche providers will be pegged at Re 1.

Globally, many airlines are already offering wi-fi for passengers, but they currently have to switch off the facility when they enter the Indian airspace.