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Telecom dept raises pitch for allowing Wi-Fi service in flights

The Union ministry has, however, clarified that no instructions have been issued to local airlines in this regard so far

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Air India plane
File photo of an Air India flight. (Photo: Shutterstock)

A proposal for allowing in-flight Wi-Fi services has been moved by DoT, Union Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said on Thursday even as he made it clear that no instructions have been issued to local to make preparations in this regard.

Presently, Wi-Fi services and phone calls are not allowed on flights flying over the Indian airspace.

The Civil Aviation Minister said providing onboard Wi-Fi services in Indian airspace involves amendment of provisions of Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 as well as Indian Telegraphy Rules made thereunder.

"The (DoT) has already moved a proposal for providing in-flight connectivity for voice, data and video services for consideration of the Committee of Secretaries," Raju said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

In response to a query, he said neither the Civil Aviation Ministry nor the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued any instructions to Indian carriers for initiating preparations for in-flight connectivity.

Chicago Convention facilitates the use of radio equipment when crossing over multiple jurisdictions. Many countries have already given rights to satellite service providers for in- flight connectivity in the aviation sector.

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

Generally, Wi-Fi facility for fliers can be provided either through air-to-ground technology or satellite connectivity and the latter will be expensive.

First Published: Thu, December 15 2016. 18:03 IST