A passenger using IFC on an Airbus aircraft. Photo courtesy of Services by Airbus
In-flight connectivity will be coming to India. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has released its recommendations for connectivity usage in the region, including the sanction of voice, data and video services over both Wi-Fi and mobile services.
The India Department of Telecommunications solicited input from stakeholders before coming to its recommendations, including the suggestion that a new “IFC Service Provider” category be created to explicitly register in-flight connectivity providers with the Department of Telecommunications.
The department also particularly recommends that providers need not be Indian entities and that services be allowed on domestic, international and overflying flights. Further, that services should be applicable to all types of aircraft.
Speaking to the Economic Times, an airline executive said that the ability to offer in-flight connectivity would help Indian carriers contend with foreign competitors. While noting that retrofitting an aircraft with connectivity technology is expensive, “if bought along with an aircraft, the cost can be capitalized and amortized,” he said. "Operating costs can be offset through various revenue models.”
No specific timeline was provided for when new regulations might go into effect.