As the telecom sector is facing a lot of issues, there is growing anticipation of relief measures for this sector. To help them, the government came up with relief package for the telecom operators. As the satcom sector is also facing similar issues, Broadband Forum India (BIF), the industry body has urged the government to come up with relief packages to this sector. This is important at a time when satellite communication is a significant part of digital communications.
Relief Package For Satcom Sector
BIF said that the relief package will facilitate equal and proportionate growth and make sure all technologies are playing a major role towards the ‘Digital India’ goals. In a letter to the Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash, BIF said that it is required that the satcom sector might kindly be considered for the proposed relief package.
Also, the BIF President TV Ramachandran suggested some measures including an increase in the payment period for AGR dues, cut in Spectrum Usage Charges for VSAT Services from 4 per cent to 1 per cent, and reduction in interest burden on instalments of AGR payments by half to 4 per cent.
Furthermore, BIF has sought a cut in the USOF component of licence fee to 3 per cent from 5 per cent. In turn, a uniform licence fee of 6 per cent will be levied rather than 8 per cent. It also noted that the assignment of satellite spectrum is currently done on an adhoc basis alongside an approval from the Minister of Communications.
Other Proposals From BIF
Other proposals from BIF to the ministry include the implementation of a single window approval mechanism for the satellite approvals as well as better dispute resolution mechanism along with the announcement of amnesty schemes to resolve AGR disputes.
In the letter, BIF highlighted the authorising or assigning of spot frequencies. BIF added that they earnestly hope that their request will merit the consideration while finalising the satcom sector relief package as this sector is a part of the Digital Communications ecosystem. They seek satcom to be included as there are increasing expectations of a policy pill for the telecom sector.