Allow satellite operators to buy capacity from foreign players directly: Trai

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November 23, 2021 9:38 PM

Vaghela said simplifying processes will make investment in the satellite services sector very attractive especially when foreign operators want to enter this sector.

Satellite service providers in the country should be allowed to directly buy capacity from an approved list of foreign players instead of going through Department of Space and paying 5 per cent charge on deals, Trai Chairman PD Vaghela said on Tuesday. He said Department of Telecom (DoT) should put in place a simplified single window approval system where all agencies involved in the process of giving clearance should provide their permissions.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) chairman while speaking at a Broadband India Forum event said there is a list of approved foreign satellite systems based on their technical security assessment with whom the service licensee may talk to for satellite capacity.

“The service licensee should be permitted to choose the foreign satellite, satellite system from the approved list instead of the present way of acquisition of foreign satellites by the DoS (Department of Space and charging 5 per cent on them. I think that system requires to be reconsidered,” Vaghela said. He said there is a sea change in the approval process but room for improvement remains.

“DoT should put in place a comprehensive simplified integrated single window clearance system. Once you go to DoS, you should not need to apply through another portal to DoT. We have gone through the process. Still there is a lot of physical touch and physical interface which can be done away with,” Vaghela said. He said that all the bodies concerned involved in granting permission to satellite services providers should give their approval through the single window system.

Vaghela said simplifying processes will make investment in the satellite services sector very attractive especially when foreign operators want to enter this sector.

Telecom Secretary K Rajaraman said that the clearance procedure for satellite networks is being simplified. He said DoT has set up a task force on developing satellite-based communication and some recommendations have been received from it. “We are in the process of examining that for a better ecosystem of satellite-based communication in India,” Rajaraman said. He said the rise in demand for both satellite and land-based communications networks have put load on spectrum which is limited.

“In particular, C-band (4 Ghz- 8Ghz range) and Ka band (26.5-40 gigahertz range)frequencies are necessary for space-based as well as terrestrial communication services. The Ka band is important for high throughput satellite services as well as for 5G services. Since spectrum is a finite resource its value can be augmented through sharing by various services,” Rajaraman said. He said that the demand for spectrum for satellite and terrestrial networks requires revisiting various existing applications.

Satellite players have been demanding allocation of the entire 28 Ghz band spectrum as well as some of the higher frequency bands for them.

Mobile service providers have demanded that spectrum in the bands be used on a shared basis for 5G services as satellite players will need spectrum in some parts only and not in the entire area. DoT has started the process for allocation of high frequency bands and has sought reference from Trai on pricing and allocation methodology.

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