Telecom regulator TRAI will come out with its recommendations on allowing in-flight
connectivity by December-end, a top official said today. Also, the regulator will ‘soon’ provide its inputs to the telecom department on the proposed New Telecom Policy (NTP), which is currently in the works.
TRAI has formed four working groups to discuss various aspects of the NTP, including licensing, infrastructure, and broadband, among others. Referring to recommendations on in-flight connectivity, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chairman R S Sharma said: “We are working on this and certainly in the current calendar year, it will come out, which means in next 15 days or so.”
Sharma declined to divulge more, but said “the broad point is that in-flight connectivity shall be allowed. Basically the recommendations will set broad parameters of that,” he said. Sharma was speaking to reporters on sidelines of a conference on ‘Accelerating Satellite Broadband for Inclusive Growth’.
On the NTP, Sharma said TRAI has already held various rounds of discussions – both internally and with the telecom department, which is working on the new policy. “We will soon be giving them our inputs,” he said. On the open sky policy, Sharma said that while the policy mandated that the service provider or anyone that wants to provide broadband will be able to contract satellite operators, there were still some ‘deficiencies’ in the system.
“That, we will need to work out,” he said, but ruled out a separate consultation paper on the same. The new telecom policy will exemplify all those issues, Sharma noted. TRAI had begun the consultation process for framing guidelines for full-fledged in-flight mobile services in late September.
In its consultation paper on In-Flight Connectivity (IFC), the regulator had then said, “Given the rapidly expanding demand for In-Flight Communication, there is a proposal to introduce In-Flight Connectivity for voice, data and video services over Indian airspace for domestic, international and over-flying flight in Indian airspace.”