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Telecom Commission Approves In-Flight Connectivity

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New Delhi: Calling and texting from aircraft will soon become a reality as the Telecom Commission on Tuesday, 1 May 2018 has approved in-flight connectivity, facilitating both voice and data calls and date surfing in Indian airspace, Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said here.
“Almost all recommendations by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on this have been accepted. We are expediting the process (to start) and within 3-4 months it should be ready. We will be operationalising this decision immediately,” she told reporters after the meeting on Tuesday.
She said there were only two exception to TRAI’s recommendations. The sector regulator said that foreign satellites and foreign gateways should also be permitted, “but there had been an earlier committee of secretaries meeting that decided that it should be an Indian satellite or a Department of Space approved satellite and the gateway should be in India.”
Sundararajan said: “We have to create a separate category of licencee, called In-Flight Connectivity Provider. This will also be applicable for ships. Re 1 will be the token licence fee. It is applicable above 3,000 metres.”
She also said that the matter need not go to the Cabinet for approval.
In addition, keeping in view that grievance redressal in the telecom sector, which has been a long pending demand, the panel approved the proposal of forming a Telecom Ombudsman.
“We get 10 million grievances per quarter. A three tier mechanism has been proposed. First will be within the telecom service providers the first level of complaints can be lodged. Then if the consumer is not satisfied with the response, each TSP will set up an appellate mechanism within itself to which the person can complaint. After that if it does not work they can move to consumer grievance redressal forums,” Sundararajan said.
Among other important decisions, the panel also approved the decision on internet telephony. “It will be operationalising it immediately. We expect that this will give a fillip to voie telephony through the data networks,” the telecom secretary said.
It also approved 12 major recommendations of TRAI on ease of doing business.
She said proliferation of broadband through public Wi-Fi network, has also been accepted.

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