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India Moves Closer To In-flight WiFi, Hughes Communications Receives First License

India Moves Closer To In-flight WiFi, Hughes Communications Receives First License

Hughes is a global provider of inflight wifi services

The company has already set up a base mobility platform

The license will be valid for a period of 10 years

The Indian government has reportedly granted the licences to the domestic airlines to begin in-flight internet services. The company to get the license is Hughes Communications India Ltd (HCIL), a majority-owned subsidiary of global broadband satellite technology and service company Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES).

HCIL which has received its licence from Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) will now be allowed to offer in-flight connectivity and high-quality broadband services to Indian and foreign airlines and shipping companies operating within Indian territory.

According to the company, it has already set up a base mobility platform and is in discussion to enhance the services in India, reported Tech Portal.

The FMC license which has been granted will be valid for a period of 10 years. The company which can deliver services using both satellites and telecom network will have to pay charges based on the revenue generated from its offerings.

This development comes in after it was reported in December 2018 that, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had notified the rules for enabling in-flight WiFi and calls, named as ‘Flight and Maritime Connectivity Rules, 2018’.

At the same time, the aviation secretary RN Choubey had also added that interested companies may start applying for a  report said that parties interested in providing WiFi connections onboard aircraft can now apply to the DoT for a license.

In May 2018, the telecommunications department had approved the recommendations of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) for allowing data and voice services in flights over Indian airspace.

In its recommendations, TRAI had said emphasised that Indian and international airlines be permitted to offer voice and data services within India’s airspace, above an altitude of 3,000 metres (about 9,850 feet).

What Is Inflight Connectivity?

In-flight wifi network will be offered in the airlines by using either signal from the nearest antenna on the ground or satellites available in the airspace for internet and mobile communications.

With this, users will now be able to connect their personal devices through a router on the airplane. The signals are then transmitted via satellites to ground stations which will redirect the traffic to a billing server that calculates the data consumption.

Interestingly, in December 2018, it was reported that fewer Indian airlines have been looking to provide in-flight services. For instance, citing unknown sources, reports said that popular domestic airline IndiGo was not considering such plans.