The time limits for stakeholder views and counter-comments on the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (Trai) discussion paper relating to the licensing framework for building satellite gateways have been extended. Following requests from stakeholders, it is now seeking comments as well as counter-comments by 20th December 20 and 3rd January, respectively. These submissions had been requested by the sector regulator by December 13th and December 27th.
Last month, the industry regulator asked for input on whether a separate license category for trying to set up the satellite earth station gateways, which is a key resource for providing quick broadband-from-space solutions in a market that is being eyed by companies like Elon Musk’s Starlink, Amazon’s Project Kuiper and Bharti-backed OneWeb, is required.
Trai is also looking for input on the “operational scope” of such a permit, as well as the “financial duties” that come with it, such as the bank guarantees, license, entry fee, and network operation and control center (NOCC) fees. Trai is also seeking input on how to assign spectrum for the purpose of building satellite gateways, as well as how to charge a satellite earth station authorization holder for such airwaves.
In India, an earth station gateway which would typically oversee an LEO satellite constellation as well as provide bandwidth connectivity between such a satellite as well as a broadband-from-space end-user. The Trai’s paper is viewed as a critical step toward establishing new licensing rules for worldwide NGSOs (non-geostationary satellite system operators), or even the low-earth orbit satellite service providers like OneWeb, SpaceX, and Amazon, as well as Canada’s Telesat, who want to deploy fast satellite broadband solutions in India.
India is viewed as an important growing satellite broadband market having revenue potential of over $1 billion per year. This is because over 75% of the rural India still lacks broadband access due to a lack of cellular or fiber connectivity in many areas. LEO satellite platforms are being considered as a possible option.
An Act of Parliament established the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on February 20, 1997, to oversee telecom services and rates in India. Previously, the Central Government was in charge of regulating telecom services and rates. The aim of the TRAI is to establish and nurture circumstances for the development of telecommunications in India so that the country may play a leading role in the growing global information society.
One of its primary goals is to create a transparent and fair environment which encourages a level field and allows for fair market competition. TRAI releases orders and directives regularly on a variety of topics, including rates DTH services, interconnections, quality of service, and mobile number portability.