In-flight Wi-Fi Net access soon

Centre needs to amend the Telegraph Act, 1885, to allow on-board Web surfing

May 25, 2017 09:08 pm | Updated 09:08 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Sky-high surfing:  Live Internet streaming is not possible on flights over India under present law.

Sky-high surfing: Live Internet streaming is not possible on flights over India under present law.

On-board Wi-Fi may soon become a reality as the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has sent a revised proposal that will enable in-flight access to voice, data and video services.

“The DoT has sent a revised proposal for the consideration of the Committee of Secretaries (home, communication and civil aviation ministries) after re-examining its earlier proposal related to interception by security agencies when required,” Civil Aviation Secretary R.N. Choubey said. “The proposal will be taken up at the next meeting of the Secretaries.”

Monitoring data

Civil Aviation Ministry sources said the Home Ministry had raised concerns about security agencies being able to monitor data and voice transmission in the initial proposal floated by DoT under the Communication Ministry. However, the revised proposal has addressed the issue of flight data monitoring, the official, who did not wish to be identified, said.

The Centre will need to amend the Telegraph Act, 1885, as well as the related Indian Telegraphy Rules to provide on-board Wi-Fi services. At present, both domestic and international passengers are unable to use in-flight Internet services over Indian airspace. Even international airlines that offer such a facility to its passengers have to discontinue the service while the aircraft is flying over the Indian airspace.

“In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) promises to substantially improve safety of airlines as it enables flight tracking in respect of aircraft in near real time reporting latitude, longitude, altitude, true heading and ground speed; streaming of flight data recorder of the aircraft in real-time; and facilitating real time intervention for safety and security based on flight data monitoring,” industry body Assocham had said in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year.

A large number of countries, including Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal, permit the use of Internet on flights, it added.

Domestic carriers, such as Jet Airways and Vistara, offer pre-loaded in-flight entertainment content to passengers on some flights. Air India also plans to give passengers access to on-board movies, games and music on laptops or smartphones by connecting to on-board Wi-Fi service. Live Internet streaming is not possible on flights under the present law.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.