The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Tuesday released recommendations on the ‘licensing framework for establishing and operating satellite earth station gateway (SESG)’.
Among the recommendations, Trai suggested there shall be a separate satellite earth station gateway (SESG) license under the Indian Telegraph Act, the SESG license will not form part of the Unified License (UL), and the service area for the license shall be at a national level. Unified License implies that a customer can get all types of telecom services from a unified licence operator.
Trai also recommended that the SESG licensee may establish, maintain, and work SESGs anywhere within the territory of India for all types of satellite systems for which the government has given permission and it may provide satellite-based resources to any entity, which holds license/permission granted by the department of telecommunication (DoT) or ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) and is permitted to use satellite media for the provision of services under its license/ permission.
A satellite gateway also referred to as a teleport or hub, is a ground station that transmits data to/from the satellite to the local area network.
According to the recommendations, the SESG licensee may establish SESGs in respect of one or more government-approved satellite systems and it shall not be permitted to provide any kind of telecommunication service or broadcasting service directly to the consumers, for the provision of which, a separate license/authorisation/permission is required from the government.
About the licence’s validity, Trai recommends the SESG licence shall be valid for 20 years from the effective date of the licence with a provision of renewal for 10 years.
Trai recommended that the licensee shall adhere to the instructions/guidelines issued by the government in respect of connecting trusted products in its network and that the licensee shall meet the instructions/ directions of DoT issued from time to time in the interest of national security.
Recommendations also indicated that only the companies registered under the Companies Act shall be eligible to apply for the grant of its licence.
For an entry fee, it recommended a non-refundable one-time entry fee of Rs 10 lakh shall be levied for the grant of SESG License. And lastly, only a token license fee of Re 1 per annum shall be levied on SESG licence SESG licensees will not provide any service directly to end-consumers.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT), through a letter dated September 10, 2021, had earlier sought the Trai’s recommendations on licensing framework for the establishment of a satellite gateway.
In this regard, a consultation paper on ‘Licensing Framework for Establishing Satellite Earth Station Gateway’ was issued on November 15, 2021. Comments from 23 stakeholders and counter-comments from seven stakeholders were received. An open house discussion (OHD) with stakeholders was held on February 25, 2022.
Based on these comments and inputs from stakeholders and on its own analysis, Trai had finalised its recommendations on the ‘Licensing Framework for Establishing and Operating Satellite Earth Station Gateway (SESG)’ to the government.