Friday, October 22, 2021

BSNL receives licence to offer broadband on planes

New Delhi: State-owned BSNL has received licence to offer Inmarsat's Global Xpress (GX) mobile broadband services in India that would enable high-speed inflight and maritime connectivity for airlines and ships using Inmarsat terminals and infrastructure, the British satellite company announced. SpiceJet Ltd and Shipping Corporation of India have already signed up for the new GX services, which would open-up capacities as high as 50Mbps, Inmarsat India Managing Director, Gautam Sharma said.

Once deployed, the GX services can enable Indian domestic airlines as well as international airlines flying over India to provide the high-speed inflight connectivity, allowing passengers to surf the internet, check social media, send emails and even make voice call over apps, during flights, according to Sharma. In a statement issued by Inmarsat, SpiceJet said it is looking to offer the "ground-breaking connectivity service" to its passengers later this year, when it introduces new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

Under BSNL's Inflight and Maritime Connectivity (IFMC) licence from Telecom Department, GX will be available to Indian customers across government, aviation maritime, an Inmarsat statement said. The announcement assumes significance as it means that India's airlines will be able to deploy GX for in-flight connection within India and across the world, while India's commercial maritime companies will be able to enhance significantly the digitalisation of their vessels for more ship operations and crew welfare services.

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) Chairman and Managing Director P K Purwar said the tariffs for the offering are yet to be decided. Asked about when the services would be operational, Purwar said, "from our side, BSNL will be ready with these services from November".

BSNL's licence will also see the GX service offered to government and other users. Introduction of services will happen in a phased manner, for customers a partners.

The statement quoted Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director of SpiceJet Ltd, as saying: We are delighted that Global Xpress, the world-leading pass inflight connectivity service, is now coming to India".

"We are looking forward to offering this ground-breaking connectivity service to our passengers later this year, when we introduce our new Boeing 737 MAX Singh said adding it will enable customers to remain connected in the air as they do on the ground.

GX, operating in the Ka-band, is a high-speed broadband network designed for mobility. The company is launching a further seven GX satellites, including its generation GX satellites, over the coming three years, each of which will add more capacity into a single region than the first four satellites combined. 

22/10/21 Kaumudi Online
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