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TRAI extends deadline for submissions in satellite-based connectivity paper

The regulator had sought views to make satellite communications more affordable.

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New Delhi: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has extended the deadline for stakeholders to submit their suggestions on satellite-based connectivity for low-bit rate applications to 23 April.

The telecom regulator had floated a discussion paper on 12 March seeking views to make satellite communications more affordable in the country. It had also sought feedback on whether licensed national long distance (NLD) operators can be allowed to offer satellite services to connect the new wave of Internet of things (IoT) devices, and if only some frequency bands should be available for such satellite-based IoT connectivity.

TRAI seeks suggestions to make satellite broadband services affordable

The low bit-rate applications (below 64 kbits per second) are sensor-based applications used in ATMs, traffic management, vehicle tracking, IoT devices. The written comments were invited from the stakeholders by 9 April and counter comments by 23 April.

On Friday, TRAI announced that it has extended the deadline for submission of written comments and counter comments up to 23 April and 7 May respectively upon industry request. “No further requests for extension would be considered,” it stated in a press release.

“With the evolution of satellite communication technologies, new types of applications based on low-bit-rate applications are emerging. Such applications require low cost, low power, and small size terminals that can effectively perform the task of signal transfer with a minimum loss,” TRAI highlighted in its paper, adding that there was also a need for a single-window clearance for all kinds of satellite-based processes.

Among other issues, it also sought views on whether satellite service licensees should be allowed to obtain bandwidth from foreign satellites for providing IoT connectivity. It also invited suggestions on whether a new licensing framework should be proposed for the provision of satellite-based connectivity for low-bit-rate applications or the existing licensing framework may be suitably amended to include the provisioning of such connectivity.

“Even though the cost of launching a satellite in India is the lowest globally, yet the licensing formalities, technical criteria, lack of ‘Open Skies Policy’ are significant barriers for the growth of satellite services in the country. The satellite services need to be made affordable for wider acceptability by price-sensitive Indian industry and end-users,” the telecom regulator had noted.

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