TRAI seeks suggestions on satellite broadband services


The cost of satellite broadband services continue to remain on the steeper end in the country, posing a major challenge to its wide adoption by the end users. The issue has been taken up by India’s telecom regulator, which is now looking for ways to drive down the rates of satellite broadband. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has floated a discussion paper and sought views to make satellite communications more affordable in the country. The written comments have been invited from the stakeholders by 9 April and counter comments by 23 April
“Satellite communication can provide coverage to the remotest and inaccessible areas of a geographically widespread country like India. With the evolution of satellite communication technologies, new types of applications based on low-bit-rate applications are emerging. Such applications require low cost, low power and small size terminals that can effectively perform the task of signal transfer with minimum loss,” TRAI stated in its paper.
The telecom regulator also noted that there are long delays reported in procurement of satellite bandwidth through the current processes due to the involvement of multiple agencies for seeking various clearances and approvals. “To attract investment and new players in a sector, the most important characteristic is the ‘ease of doing businesses,” stated TRAI, adding that there is need for a single window clearance for all kinds of satellite-based processes.
Among other issues, it has also sought views on whether satellite service licensees should be allowed to obtain bandwidth from foreign satellites for providing IoT connectivity. Also, whether any specific or all bands should be permitted for provisioning satellite-based IoT connectivity. It also invited suggestions on whether a new licensing framework should be proposed for the provision of satellite-based connectivity for low-bit-rate applications or the existing licensing framework may be suitably amended to include the provisioning of such connectivity.
“In spite of the fact that cost of launching a satellite in India is the lowest globally, yet the licensing formalities, technical criteria, lack of ‘Open Skies Policy’ are significant barriers for the growth of satellite services in the country. The satellite services need to be made affordable for wider acceptability by price sensitive Indian industry and end-users,” noted the telecom regulator.


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