NEW DELHI: Satellite communications will play a pivotal role in digital inclusion at the last mile, said a senior telecom official on Wednesday. Telecom Secretary K Rajaraman, while speaking at India Space Congress 2022 said the 4G saturation in 30,000 villages in the next year and for which satellite communications will play a pivotal role.
He said incorporating nearly 400 million unbanked citizens into the digital economy has helped them to transact electronically. “Digital inclusion shall pave the way for our national goal of economic inclusion. New technologies promise convergence and spectrum deployment should be put to better use,” added Ramarajan.
This year, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) asked for the co-existence of terrestrial networks and satellite systems in millimetre wave (mmWave) bands. The cabinet committee approved digital connectivity in 29,616 unconnected villages via 19,722 towers at a cost of Rs 26,000 crore.
Recently, the DoT approved a licence to Jio Satellite Communications, a unit of telecom operator Reliance Jio to offer satellite-based communication services. With this, Jio Satellite has become the second company after Bharti Group-backed OneWeb to get a GMPCS licence from the government. A GMPCS licence is issued by the government for 20 years, which allows firms to offer satellite communication services in licensed service areas.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX - the provider of the Starlink broadband-from-space services -- too has applied for a licence from the telecom ministry to launch its internet in India. Officials known to the development said Musk’s Starlink will be a significant player in the country. Meanwhile, the chairman of ISRO, Dr S Somanath, said demonstrating capabilities to increase business opportunities will help create a larger space economy.