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DoT amends VSAT license rules to enable infrastructure sharing

The move is expected to reduce costs for telcos and boost the rollout of mobile networks.

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Mumbai: The department of telecommunications (DoT) has amended the commercial VSAT license rules to enable sharing of satellite infrastructure and backhaul connectivity for cellular mobile services and access service providers.  

According to the new rules, the licensee may share its own active and passive infrastructure for providing other services authorized to it under any other telecom license issued by the licensor. The sharing of infrastructure will be governed by the terms and conditions of respective licenses and amendments/guidelines to be issued by the licensor from time to time. It also mentioned that an authorised gateway hub operated by the satellite provider itself is permitted to be shared with the satellite bandwidth seeker.

DoT also amended the existing rules to allow backhaul connectivity for cellular mobile services through satellite using VSAT to the access service providers; it allowed backhaul connectivity using VSAT to access service providers to establish Wi-Fi hotspots and mandated that the VSAT terminal of the commercial VSAT CUG service provider, which is used to provide cellular mobile backhaul link or Wi-Fi mobile backhaul link, is to be located in the service area of the access provider, where the backhaul link is used.

The VSAT hub can be located anywhere in the country. The link from the hub station to the respective network element of the cellular mobile network can be provided through the terrestrial obtained from an authorised service provider.

The move is expected to reduce the capital and operational expenditure of telcos and is a long pending demand of the industry. Earlier, only mobile towers and some active electronic components in the network were allowed to be shared among telecom service providers.

The amendment which allows the use of satellite service through VSAT terminals to provide backend connectivity for mobile networks is expected to boost the rollout in difficult terrain and remote areas.

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