Unleash market forces in SatCom sector: Trai chief

TRAI Chairman Ram Sewak Sharma.

New Delhi,  The time has come for allowing market forces in the satellite communications sector for unleashing its full potential, implement the open sky policy and leave the protectionist attitude, according to the Trai Chairman.

“There is a huge cost difference in satellite bandwidth between India and the US. The reason for this is not inefficiency of technology. The reason is that we have not allowed the SatCom sector to embrace market forces by not implementing the ‘open sky’ policy. It was part of the earlier telecom policy and is also a part of the NDCP 2018. It needs to be implemented in letter and spirit,” R.S. Sharma said at an event on SatCom of Broadband India Forum, here on Thursday.

India must be technology agnostic and embrace robust, frugal, scalable and ubiquitous technologies to overcome terrestrial challenges, like constraints with the ‘right-of-way’ approach being faced in the laying of fiber, he said.

He said regulatory disadvantages must to be ironed out, he said and added, the government, DoT, DoS and TRAI were aware of the need to embrace new and emerging ICT technologies to override existing challenges, benefit multiple sectors of the economy and fructify India’s digital dreams.

He said the cost of data in India, delivered via satellite technology, was 400 times higher than the US in contrast to the telecom and mobile services domain where India was offering one of the cheapest tariffs in the world.

T.V. Ramachandran, Broadband India Forum chief, said, “Satellite communications needs further mainstreaming to help reach our Digital India Mission goals — specifically to bolster terrestrial technologies, like fiber and mobile towers, and make them 5G-ready.”

To achieve that, India’s Satcom policy should also allow for a multiplicity of SatCom technologies, including new spectrum re-use, high throughput satellites, as well as LEO and MEO satellite constellations, to provide ubiquitous, high-speed broadband access across every corner of India, he said.