India to Be First Country to Auction Spectrum for Satellite Communication, TRAI Chairman Says

India will be the first country to auction spectrum for satellite communication, and it should be designed to attract investments in the sector, telecom regulator TRAI chairman PD Vaghela said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a Broadband India Forum summit on SatCom, Vaghela said the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) will soon make recommendations to make permissions required for satellite communication from various ministries -- Information and Broadcasting, Space and Telecom -- seamless to enhance ease of doing business in the sector. He also said TRAI had received a reference from the Department of Telecommunication for the spectrum required to be put to auction and associated aspects of satellite-based communication.

"I think India will be the first to handle the issue of auctioning the space base spectrum. We are working on it," Vaghela said.

TRAI will be coming out with some sort of model for the auction of space spectrum, he added. "But it should not kill the sector. That is very important. Any system that we will be bringing is to actually encourage and promote investment in the sector, and not increase any burden. I mean, that is the biggest challenge which we have, and we are conscious of that fact," Vaghela said.

TRAI is yet to come up with a consultation paper on the spectrum auction as per the standard process meant for satellite communication.

When asked about the status of the paper, Vaghela said that the regulatory body was in discussion with experts and regulators worldwide for a suitable model and the consultation paper will be floated after those discussions are over. While telecom operators have proposed to allocate spectrum through an auction for satellite communication, satellite industry players have opposed it.

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