If you are one of those frequent fliers, there is a bad news – Government has refused to allow in-flight internet facility on domestic as well as international flights in Indian skies. This is an unexpected development because not long ago, there were talks of Government allowing for the same.
In March 2015, Civil Aviation Ministry officials had approached Telecom Department with a proposal to offer WiFi on aircrafts. At that time Department of Telecommunication officials had stated that it is possible to implement the same in India. However, feasibility does not seem to be problem, but national security is – which is the reason given by Govt for not allowing inflight internet access.
While Government has not officially made any announcement, the WSJ reports cited that despite the industry having approvals from U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and other regulatory bodies, India will continue to ban Wi-Fi on all civilian flights.
Interestingly, earlier this year Jet Airways had issued a statement that they will soon offer internet connectivity on their flights and they were waiting for regulatory approvals to get through.
This directive by Government not only affects Domestic flights but International flights as well. As it stands today, any commercial flight, even if they offer inflight WiFi out side of India, will need to switch off access to Internet as soon as they enter Indian Airspace.
Globaly, many countries offer internet access on Aircrafts including our neighbours like China, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. North Korea is probably the only country other than India whose Governments have not allowed the same.
Although many aviation technology specialists believe that inflight Wi-Fi does not pose any security threats, and globaly it has been tried and tested by many airlines, Indian Government wants to play it safe, especially because it is one of the leading countries with maximum threats.
It is quite ironical that while India boasts itself of having 2nd highest internet population and is now marching towards becoming ‘Digital India’, millions of fliers will not able to access Internet in Indian skies.