The Department of Space in consultations with the Telecom Department (DoT) will shortly overhaul India’s 17-year old satellite communications policy to pave the way for auctioning satellite bandwidth. It will also frame new rules for allocating and pricing satellite transponders and explore ways to deal with applications seeking use of foreign orbital slots, according to the finance ministry sources.
The revised satcom policy is likely to tweak foreign direct investment (FDI) rules as it was felt during a meeting in the Finance Ministry recently, that present sectoral guidelines require more clarity. At present, the FDI sectoral cap for satcom operators is 74%, subject to approval of the Department of Space and Indian Space Research Organisation. The meeting took place in the backdrop of Supreme Court’s decision that natural resources cannot be allotted on a first come first serve basis. Senior officials of the departments of space, telecom and industrial policy & promotion attended the meeting.
The decision to rejig India’s satellite communcations policy also comes in the aftermath of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd’s reported demand to buy satellite bandwidth from foreign players on grounds that ISRO on was unable to give additional capacity on transponders of its choice.
The new satcom policy will also tighten security rules and encourage establishment of surveillance systems to track satellite communications traffic