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Trai publishes recommendations on the licensing framework for establishing and operating a satellite earth station gateway

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The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) issued recommendations on Tuesday about the “license framework for establishing and operating a gateway for satellite earth stations (SESG)’.



Among the recommendations, Trai suggested that there will be a separate Satellite Earth Station Gateway (SESG) license under the Indian Telegraph Act, the SESG license will not be part of the Unified License (UL) and the service area for the license will be at the national level. A unified license means that a customer can get all types of telecom services from a unified license operator.

Trai also advised that the SESG licensee may set up, maintain and operate SESGs anywhere in the territory of India for all types of government-permitted satellite systems and may provide satellite-based assets to any entity licensed/permitted by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) or the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) and is permitted to use satellite media to provide services under its license/permission.

A satellite gateway, also known as a teleport or hub, is a ground station that transmits data from/to the satellite to the local network.

According to the recommendations, the SESG licensee may establish SESGs related to one or more government-approved satellite systems and is not permitted to provide any form of telecommunication or broadcasting service directly to consumers, the provision of which requires a separate license /permission/government permission required.

Regarding the validity of the license, Trai recommends that the SESG license be valid for 20 years from the effective date of the license with a 10-year extension.

Trai advised that Licensee will adhere to government instructions/guidelines regarding connecting trusted products to its network and that Licensee should follow DoT instructions/directions issued from time to time in the interest of national safety will follow.

Recommendations also indicated that only the companies registered under the Companies Act are eligible to apply for their license to be granted.

For an entry fee, it is recommended to charge a non-refundable one-time entry fee of Rs 10 lakh for the award of a SESG license. And finally, only a symbolic license fee of Re 1 per year is levied on the SESG license. SESG licensees will not provide any service directly to end users.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had previously requested the Trai’s recommendations on the licensing framework for the establishment of a satellite gateway via a letter dated September 10, 2021.

In this context, a consultation document on ‘Licensing Framework for Establishing Satellite Earth Station Gateway’ was released on 15 November 2021. Comments were received from 23 interested parties and counter-comments from seven interested parties. An open house discussion (OHD) with stakeholders took place on February 25, 2022. Based on these comments and input from stakeholders and on her own analysis, Trai had her recommendations on the Licensing Framework for Establishing and Operating Satellite Earth Station Gateway (SESG) to the government.

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