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Indian government amends Aircraft Rules for Wi-Fi connectivity in domestic flights

(Image credit: Future)

Indian Government has finally amended its Aircraft Rules for providing Wi-Fi connectivity in domestic flights. The revision comes after years of restrictions on the in-flight Internet and Wi-Fi connectivity. And even as per the revised rules, it looks like the Government isn't lifting the limitations imposed on cellular connectivity, just yet.

According to a WSJ report, India and North Korea are the only two countries that restrict Internet connectivity for people traveling on flights. In a notification issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation dated February 21, the Central Government announced revisions in the Aircraft Rules, 2020.

The notification states that the Pilot-in-Command (PIC) can now allow Internet access for travelers via an in-flight Wi-Fi system. However, the catch is that aircraft will now need certification from the Director-General to be able to deploy a Wi-Fi solution for Internet access. 

"The Pilot-in-Command may permit the access of internet services by passengers on board an aircraft in flight, through Wii-Fi on board, when a laptop, smartphone, tablet, smartwatch, e-reader or a point of sale device is used in flight mode or airplane mode: 

Provided that the Director-General shall certify the aircraft for the usage of internet service in-flight through Wi-Fi on board subject to the procedures as specified in this behalf," it reads.

This means that there's still a while before you can have fully functional internet connectivity on your flights, as airlines will have to set up the infrastructure to support the Wi-Fi connectivity first. Also, in-flight Wi-Fi can be presented as a paid service here, and travelers may be looking at some additional costs to bear if they want to surf the web in the clouds.

Siddharth Chauhan
  • Siddharth Chauhan is the Consumer Technology Reporter at Digit India. He used to work as an Assistant Editor at TechRadar India