Aviation Telecom Current Affairs

TRAI recommends allowing mobile services during air travel

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended allowing mobile telephony and Internet services for passengers during air travel in country through both satellite and terrestrial network.

TRAI’s recommendation comes on request of Department of Telecom over proposal to introduce voice, data and video services over Indian airspace for domestic, international and overflying flights in Indian air space.

TRAI recommendations

Both Internet and Mobile Communication on Aircraft (MCA) service should be permitted as In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) in the Indian airspace. The MCA services should be permitted with minimum 3000 meters height restriction in Indian airspace for its compatibility with terrestrial mobile networks.

Flexibility to IFC service providers: There should be flexibility to IFC service providers for mobile services in terms of use of technology and frequencies inside aircraft cabin consistent with international standards, provided no harmful interference is caused.

Onboard Wi-Fi: Internet services through Wi-Fi onboard should be made available when electronic devices are permitted to be used only in-flight or airplane mode and announcement regarding this should be made after boarding is completed and the aircraft is about to taxi.

IFC Service Provider: It should be created for IFC services at annual licence fee of Rs. 1 only initially, after entering into an arrangement with telecom licence holder having appropriate authorisation. IFC service provider should be permitted to use either INSAT systems (Indian Satellite System or foreign satellite capacity leased through Department of Space) or foreign satellites outside INSAT systems in the Indian airspace.

Gateway Deployment: It should be in India for an effective mechanism to lawfully intercept and monitor in- cabin Internet traffic while aircraft is in Indian airspace. The onboard Internet traffic must be routed to Satellite Gateway on Indian soil. Routing of traffic through satellite gateway in India should be imposed regardless of whether the satellite in question is an Indian satellite system or not.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)

TRAI is an independent regulator of telecommunications business in India. It was established in 1997 through Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997. Its mandate is to regulate telecom services and deliver fair and transparent environment for fair competition in telecom market. TRAI also fixes or revises the tariffs for telecom services in India.

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