Satellite communication or satcom is an emerging technology that has been gaining traction in recent years. It is believed to come to help as a frontline service in regions where the fiber optic connectivity might not be feasible or in times of natural disasters. TRAI believes that satcom services might keep essential services running at these situations.
V Raghunandan, TRAI secretary, stated that satcom could be an excellent backup at times of no scope for deploying fiber optic cables. Especially, it can offer tremendous support in remote and rural areas such as the northeast and other hilly regions and as a backup in islands.
Furthermore, the official added that satcom could provide capacity to islands including Andaman & Nicobar. In scenarios such as submarine cable fault restoration that take a few months, satellite broadband can be a backup.
Back in August, the sectoral regulatory expressed opinions on satcom and claimed that DoT should bring in a simplified, comprehensive, integrated, single window online common portal that will involve agencies for various permissions or approvals.
Satcom To Support At Times Of Disasters
According to him, satellite communications can support business continuity and maintain seamless banking services, especially ATM operations, at times of natural disasters. Following increased activity in this segment across the nation, it has been recommended that the service licensees get bandwidth from foreign satellites in the permitted frequency bands so that they offer communication services.
Furthermore, TRAI sought to enable a provision to lease the satellite capacity from foreign satellites that were pre-authorised, claim industry experts. They would also facilitate cost-effective broadband services all over the country and enable faster deployments.
Satcom Operators In India
OneWeb, co-owned by the Bharti group and the UK government, is a low-earth orbit satellite communication company. It is in plans to launch its satellite broadband services in India by the middle of 2022. OneWeb will face competition from Starlink, owned by Elon Musk, and Kuiper Venture, owned by Amazon, already thriving in the emerging satcom sector.
The overseas arm of Bharti Enterprises, Bharti Global, is investing $400 million in OneWeb in order to take its sake to 38.6 per cent, and its total spends to $1 billion in the foreign company. Also, Bharti Enterprises got an NLD (national long distance) for its satellite venture from the telecom department. Notably, OneWeb and Hughes Network Systems recently entered into a space broadband distribution deal for their enterprise services in both India and the US.