India wants new satellite gateways

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India’s telecom regulator TRAI is inviting comments and ideas as to how the nation can set up new satellite gateways and Earth stations which are needed to cope with rising demand for satellite-based connectivity.

TRAI, working to a brief from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) earlier in September, is to supply recommendations covering the licencing framework for satellite Earth station gateway operations and to include aspects such as licencing fees, potential entry fees, network operation and control centres.

India has already allowed one Earth station in order to connect to Inmarsat’s satellite constellation.

But now the likes of Bharti-backed OneWeb, Elon Musk’s Starlink and other would-be satellite-based suppliers, are looking to access to the giant Indian market.

“The current licensing framework mandates a licensee to establish its own gateway for rendering any kind of satellite-based communication services. As per the licence conditions […] the service provider licensee is required to establish gateway itself for rendering satellite based communication services. There are no provisions in the existing licenses of VSAT [or other] gateways by service providers established by a satellite constellation operator,” TRAI said in its consultation paper.

“Given the circumstances, it may be desirable to explore the possibility of a licensing framework for establishing gateway as an independent facility, set up either by a satellite constellation operator or any other entity,” said TRAI. “Under the new framework, the licensee who establishes gateway should be able to deliver its services to other licensees, which in turn would render services to the end users.”

TRAI has sought comments on the consultation paper by December 13th and counter comments by December 27th.


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