BIF: Regulatory Certainty to Make Satcom an Affordable Option for India

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DoT working to simplify regulatory processes for satcom players

Broadband India Forum, or BIF, has highly commended the recently released satcom recommendations on satellite based connectivity for low bit rate applications by TRAI as "greatly liberalizing" and "forward-looking". BIF further added that these recommendations will propel exponential growth in the sector.


BIF Supports TRAI Recommendations on Satcom

In a statement, BIF said that these recommendations will enable cost reductions, remove supply constraints, and allow ease of doing business. This will help bring this highly efficient and advanced technology into the mainstream as a viable, cost-effective method of connectivity.

The forum said that allowing the Service Licensees to obtain satellite bandwidth from foreign satellites would greatly enhance satcom capacities. Notably, the government has permitted the same in all the permitted satellite bands to provide satellite-based services.


BIF also said that leasing satellite capacity will also help satcom make it cost-effective to proliferate broadband across the country. This move will also help companies to set up and deploy services fast.

Incidentally, TRAI has recommended the government to remove regulations that permitted only short-term contracts between the buyer and supplier. Also, the sector regulator recommended reducing and removing excessive levies. These include removal of facilitation charges, the prevailing NOCC charges and reduction of SUC to 1%.

Further, TRAI has asked the government to migrate from administrative formula-based charging to AGR based charging. BIF called these recommendations "greatly progressive steps that will definitely help make satcom an economically viable technology option".


BIF also lauded the recommendation to create a single-window system for all approvals/permissions/allocations processes. A company needs to take clearance from all the authorizing agencies like DoS, DOT, WPC and NOCC; this window will help time-bound processing of all formal requirements, it said.

"Impeccable Recommendations to Boost Industry"

TV Ramachandran, President, BIF, said, "these impeccably balanced recommendations address the interests and requirements of all the stakeholders, across the Digital Communications as well as Space verticals. They would aptly resolve the long pending issues of scarcity of satcom capacity, significantly reduce regulatory costs, and would lead to increased efficiency in delivery of services".


He added, "putting in place a comprehensive, simplified, integrated, end-to-end coordinated, single window online common portal for grant of various procedural formalities is aligned to best international practices and would promote regulatory certainty, which would invite new and long term investments as well as new players into the sector, thereby helping promote competition, which would eventually benefit the customer".

He also said, "the suggestion for a Government road map detailing the availability of the domestic satellite capacities in India to facilitate the service licensees to plan and optimize their capacity procurement is also an excellent and judicious one".

BIF also called the recommendations as the "next logical step". It said that the recommendations will introduce measures as reforming the TEC specifications to suit modern satellite technologies, and provisioning use of satcom for cellular and Wi-Fi backhaul.

The forum said that it will "greatly transform the satcom landscape in India". It said that these moves will usher in both competition and technological innovation. The forum also added that this will benefit both the network operators and the consumers.

It also reflected that the industry will back the government's move to provide digital connectivity across the country.

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