Fliers might soon be able to use voice and video services through Wi-Fi onboard, with the Department of Telecommunications moving a proposal in this regard. Currently, Wi-Fi services and phone calls are not allowed on flights flying over the Indian airspace.
The Department of Telecommunications has already moved a proposal for providing inflight connectivity for voice, data and video services for consideration of the Committee of SecretariesJayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation informed Rajya Sabha
In a written reply, he also said the proposal for providing onboard Wi-Fi services involves amendment of provisions of Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and Indian Telegraph Rules made there under.
“As of now, Wi-Fi inflight Entertainment System (Transmitting – Portable Electronic Device) is an independent system and is not connected to aircraft control systems making it safe for aircraft operations,” the Minister noted. Various countries, including the US, allow inflight Wi-Fi services.
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. Generally, Wi-Fi facility for fliers can be provided either through air-to-ground technology or satellite connectivity and the latter will be expensive.