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Trai consults industry to address limitations in satellite gateway operations

The regulator has issued a consultation paper on licensing framework for establishing satellite

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Mumbai: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Monday released a consultation paper on licensing framework for establishing satellite earth station gateway. The telecom regulator is seeking inputs from stakeholders on the issues raised in the consultation paper by 13 December and counter comments by 27 December.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has asked Trai to address the limitations with respect to satellite gateway operations as there are no provisions regarding the use of gateway by service providers established by a satellite constellation operator. As per the current licensing regime in India, establishing a satellite earth station is linked with the service license, and there are no specific license/provisions for establishing earth station by satellite operators for providing satellite-based resources to the service licensee.

The need has arisen to have a specific authorisation for establishing the satellite earth station gateway by a satellite operator or any entity having a tie-up with satellite the operator, noted Trai.

Trai will examine all factors holistically and recommendations for a framework for satellite gateway(s) operations may be suggested including the entry fee, license fee, bank guarantee, NOCC charges, and any other issues which may be relevant for MEO/LEO/HTS systems.

Trai has sought industry stakeholders’ responses to the following questions.

1.     Whether there is a need for having a specific license for establishing satellite earth station gateway in India for the purpose of providing satellite-based resources to service licensees?

2.     If yes, what kind of license/permission should be envisaged and the scope of the framework both technical and operational?

3.     Whether such license should be made available to satellite operator or its subsidiary or any such entity having tie-up with satellite operator?

4.     What mechanism/framework should be put in place to regulate the access to satellite transponder capacity and satellite-based resources of a satellite operator/earth station licensee by the service licensees to get the resources in a time-bound, fair, transparent, and non-discriminatory manner?

5.     Whether Earth station licensee should be permitted to install baseband equipment also for providing satellite bandwidth to the service licensees as per need?

6.     What amendments will be required to be made in the existing terms and conditions of the relevant service authorisations of Unified License, DTH License/Teleport permission to enable the service licensee to connect to the satellite earth station gateway established by earth station licensee/service licensee, for obtaining and using the satellite transponder bandwidth and satellite-based resources?

7.     Whether the sharing of earth Station among the licensees (between proposed Earth station licensee and service licensee; and among service licensees) should be permitted?

8.     What should be the methodology for the assignment of spectrum for establishing a satellite earth station?

9.     What should be the charging mechanism for the spectrum assigned to the satellite earth Station licensee?

10.  Comments on any related matter not covered in the consultation paper.

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