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Trai gives approval for in-flight Wi-Fi: Can surf internet mid-air

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Friday gave green signal to access mobile and internet services on-board flight. The authority recommended allowing mobile and internet services through both satellite and terrestrial network.

While the 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 meters. The operation of MCA (mobile communication on aircraft) services has a minimum height restriction of 3,000 meters in Indian airspace to ensure its “compatibility with terrestrial mobile networks”.

TRAI said, for mobile services, there should be flexibility to IFC service providers in terms of use of technology and frequencies inside the aircraft cabin that should be consistent with international standards.

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“The deployment of a gateway in India provides an effective mechanism to intercept and monitor the in-cabin internet traffic while the aircraft is in Indian airspace. The onboard internet traffic must be routed to a satellite gateway on Indian soil. Such an obligation should be imposed regardless of whether the satellite in question is an Indian satellite system or not,” Trai said.

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 Internet services through Wi-Fi onboard should be made available when electronic devices are permitted to be used only in-flight or airplane mode.

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