India’s satellite broadcasting and telecommunications industry has appealed to the government to implement the TRAI-based recommendation for ‘Open Skies’ satellite services policy for DTH and VSAT operators similar to that available to ISPs. According to the telecom regulator, DTH and VSAT providers should be allowed to work directly with any international satellite.
A meeting, attended by members of the VSAT Services Association of India (VSAI), the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA) and the Global VSAT Forum (GVF), exchanged views and information with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on the expansion of India’s access to competitively priced satellite communications services.
“Satellite services underpin India’s communications infrastructure and have the potential to revolutionise the public’s access to new and exciting interactive media and telecommunications,” said Wg. Cdr. (Retd) B G Bhalla, Secretary General of the Delhi-based VSAI.
“There is a huge pent-up demand within India for satellite services, which cannot be met in the current regulatory environment,” said Simon Twiston Davies, CEO of CASBAA.
David Hartshorn, Secretary General of GVF, said, “Broadcast channels, supported by bandwidth-hungry high definition TV and interactive telecommunications services, cannot be deployed unless there is significant additional satellite inventory made available within India.”
According to a joint CASBAA-GVF paper released during the meeting, with new supply of DTH and VSAT capacity limited to a best-case total of 36 new government-sanctioned transponders for India over the next three years, the ability of any company wishing to use Indian uplinked DTH or VSAT services would be severely limited.
The high-level meeting of more than 25 industry leaders and government officials debated the opportunities for satellite services that are fast emerging in India’s communication sector. The satellite industry executives hold that without change in government policy, India’s communications industry will under-perform on the promise of the digital revolution.