WiFi in Indian skies imminent

As government eases  norms,   get set to surf the Net on  planes over India
September 18 2016: Remember  when broadband in hotels was a rarity? In the last 10 years  that has changed  and  we can expect to find in-room  WiFi  in all expect the most basic hotels.   Many business hotels provide it as a free service, though a few luxury establishments still get away with charging outrageous  prices for a day's surfing.
That history is about to repeat  -- in civilian aircraft in Indian skies.  Some six  years after  Internet access on aircraft was shown to be technically feasible, the government has finally stirred itself to lift the restrictions on in-flight WiFi.  On August 25, Rajeev Chaubey,  the Civil Aviation Secretary  told members of the Air Passengers Association that  "good news"  on the  airline WiFi front was imminent.  We are still waiting for the formal notification that will allow airlines  flying in India to offer WiFi Internet to passengers.
Free or fee? There it seems,   airlines  will  traverse the same tortuous path that hotels followed, offering the service  free only when forced,  kicking and screaming,  by customer pressure,  to do so.  Gogo, a company that specializes in  making wireless Internet on flights possible has  allowed dozens of airlines to offer the service.  By and large they still charge-- and it's a tidy amount:   the equivalent of Rs 1000 to Rs 3000 depending on the   duration of the flight.  Airlines  make a neat pile from the service, adding some 25% to the rate charged by the service provider.  But  not all of them.   Some budget airlines abroad , like JetBlue offer it for free.  So does a premier airline like Emirates that offers  10 MB of  traffic  free ( enough to check your mail)  and then charges a token one dollar for another 600MB.
Lufthansa  has announced it would start offering wireless Internet   on all its A320 aircraft from next month -- which also includes its services touching India. Free or fee? We have to wait and see.
Meanwhile, Jet Airways in India has taken the first tentative step in this direction.   On some of its trunk routes it has  begun wireless streaming of an entertainment package. You have to install the  JetScreen mobile app on your phone before boarding  and then use it to connect to the plane's data base of some 200 hours of entertainment.  You have  use your own headphones and own phone or tablet.  This seems  like  really baby steps  and remember this is WiFi,  but not Internet access -- yet. 
Providing Internet access in flight,  needs the plane to connect to servers on the ground -- through a satellite.   The antenna is a bulbous dome that has to be fitted on the fuselage.   And then the airline has to tie up with a service provider like Gogo.  Do you see Indian carriers providing the service free once government  allows it? I don't.   But there is such a thing as competition. If one carrier goes free, others will have to  follow.   Let's pray for a bold first mover who will let us say: I WiFi while I fly -- for free !  Anand Parthasarathy