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Satcom to provide connectivity in hitherto unconnected areas

The department of telecommunications (DoT) will ensure a level playing field for all forms of communication, including satellite and terrestrial, so that all sections of the population get access to communication services, a top official said on Tuesday.

The DoT has set up a task force on developing an ecosystem for satellite-based communication services. “We are in the process of examining ways to to enable a better ecosystem for satellite-based communication. DoT is keen to ensure a level-playing field for all forms of communication and technologies in the pursuit of expanding communication services to all sections of population,” telecom secretary K Rajaraman said during India Satcom 2021 summit.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India chairman PD Vaghela said satellite networks are not competitors of terrestrial networks, but complement them. The regulator has already come out with a consultation paper on licensing framework for establishing satellite earth station gateway.

Through the paper, the regulator wants to deliberate on issues concerning the licensing regime for such services, like to whom should spectrum be assigned and what should be the methodology for the assignment of spectrum for establishing a satellite earth station.

The regulator will also discuss whether there is a need to have a specific licence for establishing a satellite earth station gateway in India to provide satellite-based resources to service licensees.

The DoT on September 10 sought Trai recommendations on the issue. The DoT has said the current licensing framework for satellite services has limitations with respect to proposed satellite gateways operations, as there are no provisions regarding usage of gateway by service provider established by a satellite constellation operator.

As per the Broadband India Forum (BIF), with a flurry of government measures on the policy and regulatory fronts in the recent times, Satcom in India is well on its way to establish itself as a cost-effective means to achieve the goals and aspirations of a digital economy.

Satellite internet could be an extremely effective solution for people in rural or remote areas, where providing terrestrial connectivity is a challenge — both in terms of feasibility and cost competitiveness. It is estimated that the cost of providing terrestrial connectivity in rural regions shoots up 10-20 times, making it economically unviable for terrestrial technologies to reach the last 20% of the population. Business Journal

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