Satellite companies in India have sought exemption from licence fee for five years on broadband services provided by them as it has been recommended for fixed-line broadband services, industry body Satellite Association India said in its submission to telecom regulator Trai on Monday.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in 2015 had recommended that the licence fee on the revenues earned on fixed-line broadband should be exempted for at least five years.
The Department of Telecom (DoT), however, warned that telecom companies may misuse fixed broadband licence fee exemption through misappropriation of revenues due to the proposed exemption.
The Satcom Industry Association (SIA) said that the regulators must include satellite broadband into this ongoing debate for broadband for all and all future consultations as well.
“The policy needs to allow a greater number of private operators, both domestic and foreign into the satellite broadband arena, which is at a nascent stage. With a light touch regulatory framework, easy market access, landing rights, and ease of doing business, the sector could increase taking broadband to all at affordable rates bringing billions of FDI in and raising employability,” SIA-India Director General Anil Prakash said in a statement.
The SIA in its submission to TRAI’s supplementary consultation paper on ‘Road to Promote Broadband Connectivity and Enhanced Broadband Speed” on June 10 said that any form of liberalising or streamlining the licensing framework must also include the satellite broadband sector with a “single access window”.
“The approach for incentivising the proliferation of fixed-line broadband networks should also include the satellite broadband sector for a level-playing field between different technologies,” the SIA said in the submission.
The SIA has said that any form of direct benefit transfer (DBT) to subscribers of fixed-line broadband services should also be given to the satellite broadband sector.
“Delivering broadband through satellite in Bharat Net should be prioritised. Benefits must maintain a level-playing field and should not discourage any broadband service providers,” the SIA said.
Trai’s consultation process on the subject is open for counter comments till June 17.