On Friday, it recommended introducing a new category of "In-Flight Connectivity Service Provider" to allow the service over the Indian airspace. While internet can be provided from the moment a plane taxies and personal electronic devices (PEDs) put on "flight mode", mobile phone services will be allowed when aircraft are flying above an altitude of 3,000 metres.
DoT had also requested Trai to furnish its recommendations on licensing terms and conditions for the provision of IFC for voice, data and video services and associated issues such as entry fee, license fee, spectrum-related issues including usage charges and method of allocation and other conditions.
"The operation of MCA services should be permitted with minimum height restriction of 3000 meters in Indian airspace for its compatibility with terrestrial mobile networks", Trai recommended. After going through the comments it received, TRAI has finalised its recommendations and released them in a report on Friday. "It will help companies who want to take part i" it", Mahesh Uppal, CEO of telecom consultancy firm Com First told IANS.
Fliers are now not allowed to use mobile phones and internet within the Indian airspace because of security concerns.
"In-flight connectivity will expand significantly by 2018". Even when they fly, they want broadband connectivity equal to what they've experienced from terrestrial network and Wi-Fi hotspots on the ground, it said, adding that the demand for in-flight Internet access is driven by millions of smart phones, tablets and laptop computers.
The Department of Telecommunications had sought views of Trai in August a year ago on this matter. All traffic on board should be touted through the satellite gateway, irrespective of the ownership of the satellite.
TRAI said IFC services are generally provided through use of mobile satellite service with a mobile earth station installed in the aircraft to establish backhaul link with the ground.
"The deployment of a gateway in India provides an effective mechanism to lawfully intercept and monitor the in- cabin Internet traffic while the aircraft is in Indian airspace".
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