Hughes Communications India Ltd. (HCIL) has become the first company to receive the FMC (Inflight and Maritime Connectivity) license, authorizing high-quality broadband connectivity services to ships and aeroplanes.
HCIL, a majority-owned subsidiary of Hughes Network Systems is now authorized to provide in-flight connectivity and high-quality broadband services to Indian and foreign airlines and shipping companies operating within Indian territory. HCIL has already set up a base mobility platform and is in discussion to enhance the services in India.
Partho Banerjee, President & Managing Director at Hughes Communications said, “We stand ready operationally to initiate high quality broadband services for both airlines and maritime operators, including having the availability of ubiquitous satellite coverage across Indian airspace and territorial waters. We would also like to compliment the regulatory authorities for a speedy grant of license and a positive intent towards the entire policy framework, which promises to herald a new era of communications for India.”
The FMC license has been granted for a period of 10 years and HCIL will pay spectrum charges based on revenue earned from providing these services, which can be delivered using both satellites and telecom networks on the ground. HCIL will provide FMC services in India operating over domestic and foreign satellites permitted by the Department of Space.
According to Euroconsult, over 23,000 commercial aircraft will offer connectivity to their passengers by 2027, up from 7,400 aircraft in 2017. Northern Sky Research’s Aeronautical SatCom Market’s 2017 report forecasts that by the end of 2019, broadband VSAT connectivity will be installed on one out of every three commercial passenger aircraft and will rise to two out of every three commercial passenger aircraft by the end of 2026.
Driven by higher demand for broadband connectivity, this installed base will generate over $32 billion in revenue over the next decade, as air travel continues its rise around the world. According to Comsys, over 44,242 ships are equipped with VSAT terminals in 2018, double the last recorded number in 2013.