Amidst the ongoing battle between the telecom sector and the satellite communications (satcom) sector, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has announced a new rule that will favour both sectors. The rule says that the telecom service providers will not have to pay network operation and control centre (NOCC) charges which are levied on the use of space segments for satellite broadband, telephony, etc.
The DoT introduced the NOCC regime in 2003. Under the regime, DoT charged Rs 21 lakh per transponder every year for 36 MHz of spectrum on a pro-rata basis. In addition to this, the Indian government also charged Rs 6,000 for every trial of antenna that was used for transmitting and receiving signals.
According to a recent notification from DoT, none of the DoT licensees is required to pay NOCC charges for use of space segment for commercial and captive VSAT services, NLD (National Long Distance), GMPCS (satellite phone service), and more.
This is a positive development for both sectors as it would encourage the telecom service providers (TSPs) for leveraging the satcom technology more along with boosting the growth and presence of the satcom in the country.
OneWeb, Starlink Eye India Launch
OneWeb and Starlink, two of the major satcom companies, are eyeing the launch of commercial services in India. Both the companies have been competing on a global stage, but in India, OneWeb seems to have taken the lead. Bharti Backed OneWeb has already secured licenses from the DoT; however, Starlink is yet to receive them.
SpaceX owned Starlink faced major problems with selling pre-booking connections in the country without first getting a license. The company was directed by the government to stop taking any new bookings in addition to refunding the money taken from Indian customers. This was a big blow to the company’s plans to launch satellite broadband services in the country. However, Starlink has said that it will still continue to try to launch services in India as fast as possible.