In a move to boost broadband connectivity, the government is considering a slew of measures including a cut in both spectrum and licence fee for VSAT (very small aperture terminals) and DTH (direct-to-home) operators.
At present, while DTH operators shell out 10% of their revenue as licence fee, VSAT pay 4% of their revenue as WPC (wireless planning and co-ordination) charges and a spectrum fee of 2-4% depending on the bandwidth.
According to DoT sources, the WPC committee may agree to limit the spectrum fee to just its co-ordination costs which is about Rs 4 lakh. The department would discuss the issue of licence fee reduction for DTH operators separately with the information and broadcasting ministry, they said.
The department will, however, wait for the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s recommendation on unified licensing before taking a final decision. “We will continue to consider it internally and see if there is a way to issue the reduction prior to unified licencising,” according to a DoT source.
In its recommendations, the telecom regulator had sought an exemption for DTH operators on spectrum royalty fees for uplinking from within India. The department has, however, decided against it.
Further, DoT has set up a committee to streamline the system of frequency allocation. The committee is expected to offer a streamlined solution within a month.