Telecom sector 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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India ranks 109th in mobile internet speed: Ookla

India ranked 109th out of 122 countries in the mobile internet speed and 76th out of 133 countries in broadband space in the November 2017 Speedtest Global Index (SGI).

The index was released by popular internet speed testing service provider Ookla. It ranked average internet speeds in different countries on mobile and home broadband to understand a real state of the networks that internet users are relying on. The mobile network and broadband speeds are calculated based on every speed test done by user on Ookla app in every country.

Key Highlights of November 2017 SGI

Mobile internet speed

Top 5 fastest mobile network countries: Norway (average speed of 62.66Mbps), Netherlands (53.01Mbps), Iceland (52.78Mbps), Singapore (51.50Mbps) and Malta (50.46Mbps).

India’s neighbours: China is ranked 31st (31.22Mbps), Pakistan ranked 89th (13.08Mbps), Myanmar ranked 94th (11.72Mbps), Nepal ranked 99th (10.97Mbps) and Sri Lanka ranked 107th (9.32Mbps).

India related Facts: Average speed of mobile data networks in India is 8.80Mbps, marginally down from 8.83Mbps in October 2017 when it was ranked 108th. But it is significantly higher than 7.65Mbps average speed in January 2017.

Home broadband speed

Top 5 fastest Home broadband Countries: Singapore (153.85Mbps), Iceland (147.51Mbps), Hong Kong (133.94Mbps), South Korea (127.45Mbps) and Romania (104.46Mbps).

India’s neighbours: China ranked 23rd (61.24Mbps), Sri Lanka ranked 71st (19.26Mbps) well before India. However, Bangladesh ranked 85th (16.14Mbps), Nepal ranked 92nd (14.05Mbps) and Pakistan ranked 126th (6.13Mbps) after India.

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