Government notifies Flight and Maritime Connectivity Rules, 2018

The Union Government has notified Flight and Maritime Connectivity Rules, 2018, thereby allowing phone calls and internet on flights and ship voyage within India’s territory. The Indian and foreign airlines and shipping companies that are operating in India can provide in-flight and maritime voice and data services by partnering with an Indian telecom company having a valid licence. The rules regarding this will be called as the Flight and Maritime Connectivity Rules, 2018.
About Flight and Maritime Connectivity Rules, 2018:

  • The IFMC i.e in-flight and maritime connectivity can be provided by the airlines and ships using telecom networks on the ground as well as using satellites.
  • Both domestic and foreign satellites can be used for providing the IFMC services by a telecom licence holder after taking permission of the Department of Space.
  • The rules make it clear that when the satellite system is used for providing IFMC, the telegraph message need to pass through the satellite gateway earth station located within India. Such satellite gateway earth stations shall be interconnected with the National Long Distance (NLD) or access service or ISP licensee’s network for further delivery of the message.
  • The in-flight and maritime connectivity services will only be activated once the aircraft reaches a minimum height of 3,000m in the  Indian airspace. The objective of this is to avoid any interference with terrestrial mobile networks.
  • The licences for IFMC will be granted for an annual fee of Rs. 1 for a period of 10 years.
  • The permit holder will have to pay licence fees and spectrum charges depending upon the revenue earned from providing services.

It is to be noted that even with all the rules notified, it would take time for the airlines to upgrade their systems to provide IFMC services.



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