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DoT removes tax on satcom readers, Telecom News, ET Telecom

Kolkata: The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) amended the Unified License to remove a key tax on satellite service operators, a move that could make broadband services from space more affordable in India. Therefore, Satcom operators will not have to pay Network Operation and Control Center (NOCC) fees for the rental of satellite transponder capacity.

“The competent authority has determined to waive NOCC fees for licensees of telecommunications services for use of the Space Segment,” the DoT said in an order dated May 6.

He added that all GMPCS (Global Mobile Personal Communications Satellite Services), commercial/captive VSAT and NLD license holders involved in space operations would no longer be charged NOCC fees, effective April 1, 2022.

The DoT directive is in line with the industry regulator’s call to abolish NOCC levies in August 2021.

Until now, satcom operators had to pay a NOCC fee, equivalent to Rs 21 lakh per transponder per year, regardless of the operating frequency band or the nature of the satellite capacity.

Satellite broadband operators welcomed the DoT’s decision, saying it underscored the government’s commitment to supporting the growth of digital communications by leveraging the capacity of the satcom industry.

“These are progressive policy steps, and we also look forward to the continued support of the Space Department and INSPACe to make India’s space sector an attractive investment destination,” Lt. Gen. AK Bhatt said. , CEO of the Indian Space Association (ISpA). .

ISpA counts major space broadband players such as Bharti-backed OneWeb, Tata Nelco group company and US-based Hughes Network Systems among its core members. India’s National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (IN-SPACe), in turn, is a central regulatory body tasked with attracting private capital into the space sector.

The UK-based Global Mobile Suppliers Association or GSA has called on the Indian government to auction all frequency bands, including millimeter wave (24.5 – 28.5 GHz), and said that the Terrestrial networks and satellite systems can coexist in the band as proposed by the telecommunications regulator.

The development comes at a time when competition is expected to intensify in India’s nascent broadband-from-space segment after Reliance Jio recently became the second telecom operator after Bharti to throw its hat into the ring of satcoms. OneWeb, backed by Bharti, recently obtained a GMPCS license and Reliance Jio has also applied for one. Jio Platforms has partnered with SES in Luxembourg to provide satellite broadband services across India. OneWeb, in turn, is building a global constellation of 648 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites to launch high-speed, low-latency satellite broadband services in rural and remote areas around the world, including India. .