Central Government notifies the Flight & Maritime Connectivity Rules, 2018

In exercise of the powers conferred by section 4 read with section 7 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, the Central Government, has notified that Flight and Maritime Connectivity Rules, 2018 on 14th December 2018.

IFMC/In Flight and Maritime Connectivity service has been defined in these rulesthe establishment, maintenance and working of telegraph to provide wireless voice or data or both type of telegraph messages in aircraft and on ships;

As per these rules

  • The designated authority, shall have the right to monitor or intercept the telegraph message passing through the IFMC network.
  • An IFMC service provider shall establish, maintain and work telegraph to provide wireless voice or data or both type of telegraph messages on ships within Indian territorial waters and on aircraft within or above India or Indian territorial waters.
  • IFMC communication systems using Direct-Air-to-Ground Communications (DA2GC) shall be permitted to be used for in Flight Connectivity, provided they are in compliance of standards set by the international bodies such as International Telecommunications Union (ITU), European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE); or set by International fora such as 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).
  • Data service may be provided by the IFMC service provider through Wi-Fi.
  • For providing data service, the companies referred to in sub-rule (2), shall enter into a commercial agreement with at least one licensee of –
    • (a)access service or ISP category A; and
    • (b)commercial VSAT CUG service or NLD service, having satellite gateway earth station within the service area of partnering licensee as referred to in clause (a), in case connectivity through satellite is used.
  • For providing voice and data service, the companies referred to in sub-rule (2), shall enter into a commercial agreement with at least one licensee of –
    • (a) access service; and
    • (b) commercial VSAT CUG service or NLD service, having satellite gateway earth station within the service area of partnering licensee of access service, in case connectivity through satellite is used.
  • An authorisation granted for providing IFMC service hall be valid for a period of ten years from the date of its grant.
  • The DoT may, at any time, revoke the authorisation granted, if it is necessary or expedient to do so in public interest or in the interest of the security of the State or in case of violation of any provisions of these rules or in default of payment of any consideration payable thereunder.
  • The DoT shall give a written notice of twenty-one days to the IFMC service provider before revoking the authorisation granted, and any such revocation shall be effective from the sixty-first calendar day from the date of its issuance:
  • The DoT shall not be responsible for any loss which may arise out of such revocation of granted authorisation.
  • The IFMC service provider shall provide the operation of mobile communication services in aircraft at minimum height of 3000 meters in Indian airspace to avoid interference with terrestrial mobile networks.
  • Internet services through Wi-Fi in aircraft shall be made available when electronic devices are permitted to be used only in airplane mode.
  • There shall be separate infrastructure for IFMC and navigation system in aircraft and ships to avoid interference.
  • IFMC shall be in exclusive control of the pilot or captain of the aircraft or ship to enable him to turn off the connectivity during any adverse condition.
  • The IFMC service provider shall pay annual fee of one rupee to be paid on annual basis to the DoT through Bharatkosh.

Copy of notification: Flight and Maritime Connectivity Rules, 2018.

-Tushar Kaushik

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