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

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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