In a positive turn of events, DoT is warming up to the idea of in-flight Wi-Fi for passengers. The Economic Times reports that a senior civil aviation official has approached the authorities and has received positive feedback. Also Read - Starlink told to get license before offering satellite-based internet services in India by govt
On conditions of anonymity, the official told the publication, “The DoT has already said (informally) the proposal is possible to implement.” Many international flights like Emirates, Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines offer Internet services for a fee to passengers. Also Read - Airtel uses Nokia equipment to successfully conduct first 5G trial in Eastern India
Air travelers on long journey often use these services, as while travelling, they can get some productive work done or just get rid of boredom by consuming entertainment online or surfing the web. This service will be welcomed by passengers on board Indian flights as well. Also Read - MediaTek Filogic 130, Filogic 130A chipsets with Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2 support launched for IoT devices
There are typically two ways of providing Wi-Fi on flights. The first one is called Air to-ground technology, where a 3G network of mobile broadband from the ground communicates with the plane. The speed is really low and fluctuating depending on various conditions, therefore forget streaming videos on this connection. The second one is called Satellite technology where each plane connects to networks via satellite and the speed is much faster. Lufthansa uses this technology, and even though it’s costly, the company claims that the download speed is up to 50Mbps. It is unclear which technology the Indian government plans to implement.
Many airline companies in India have proposed the implementation of Wi-Fi services, with the increase in number of online population. “It is a welcome proposal, it is allowed in many other places of the world. In the US these days, it is rare to be on a flight that does not have Wi-Fi,” Sanjiv Kapoor, COO of budget airline SpiceJet, told the publication.
If the Wi-Fi plan is implemented, airlines can introduce new ways to gain revenue by offering Wi-Fi services to its passengers. However, Wi-Fi via satellites is a logistically costly affair, and hasn’t been a huge hit in the western countries.