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TRAI releases consultation paper on data services by non-AAI entities

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released a supplementary consultation paper focusing on data communication services between aircraft and ground stations provided by organizations other than Airports Authority of India.

This is in response to the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) request, through its letter dated April 12 2022 stated, inter-a/ia, that VHF data link services consist of the data for the tracking the aircraft for safety of flights; the Ministry of Communications has made frequency assignments to M/s Société Internationa le de Telecommunications Aeronautiques, (SITA) and M/s Bird Consultancy Services (BCS) to operate VHF Data Communication Link between aircraft and ground stations. Considering that VHF Data Link Services to provide Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting (ACAR) service can be beneficial to track aircrafts on a real-time basis and help investigations, search and rescue operations in the unfortunate event of aviation disaster, DoT requested TRAI under the terms of clause 11(1)(a) of TRAI Act, 1997 to provide recommendations on the following:

I. An appropriate mechanism to regulate the services provided by these organizations:

ii. The manner in which the frequency assi’nment should be made to these organizations, in /iqht of the supreme Court judgment made in the 2G case in 2012 – to assi’n radio frequencies only through auction.

The Authority had then issued a Consultation Paper on ‘Data Communication Services between Aircraft and Ground Stations for services provided by organizations other than Airport Authority of India’ dated December 10, 2022, for soliciting comments of stakeholders on suitable regulatory regime for data communication services between aircraft and ground stations provided by organizations other than the Airport Authority of India.

An Open House Discussion (OHD) was conducted on March 10, 2023, wherein it was observed that specific inputs have not been received on some of the aspects related to service license for provision of data communication services between aircraft and ground stations, methodology for spectrum assignment, and spectrum charging mechanism, which will be necessary for a comprehensive analysis of the matter and formulating the recommendations. Accordingly, the Authority has decided to issue this supplementary consultation paper to seek inputs from stakeholders on such aspects.

In this regard, a Supplementary Consultation Paper on ‘Data Communication Services Between Aircraft and Ground Stations Provide by Organizations Other Than Airports Authority of India’, seeking additional inputs from stakeholders has been placed on TRAI’s website and comments invited from the stakeholders by August 17, 2023 and counter comments by August 24, 2023.

CT Bureau

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