Sunday, February 26, 2006

Powerful Industry Group push for "Open Skies" Satellite policy in India

February 16

Satcom industry promotes competition in India. Public-private forum debates sector reform.

India’s satellite broadcasting and telecommunications industries gave renewed support to optimising regulations for satellite services within India. The VSAT Services Association of India (VSAI), the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA) and the Global VSAT Forum (GVF) engaged the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on the expansion of India’s access to competitively priced satellite communications services.

The private sector was unanimous in its support for the TRAI-based recommendation that an “Open Skies” satellite services policy should be implemented without delay.

VSAI pointed out that 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.

CASBAA said that underlying the meeting recommendations was one incontestable fact, that there is a huge pent-up demand within India for satellite services which cannot be met in the current regulatory environment.

For its part the GVF said that 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.

An “Open Skies” policy should be adopted for DTH and VSAT operators similar to that available to ISPs. According to TRAI: DTH and VSAT providers “should be allowed to work directly with any international satellite.”

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 will be severely limited.

Powerful industry lobbying indeed.

What happens next and when?  

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