Liberalizing Satellite Communications in India: Opportunities for Enhanced Economic Growth

November 15, 2019

India’s growing capacity of satellite communication can be harnessed to meet the country’s communications demand in the future. This is especially true for India’s remote and unconnected regions. For rural and remote areas, not only are the costs of technology deployment significantly higher, monetizing investments is also more challenging. According to a very popular estimate, it costs ten to twenty times more to connect the last 10 -20% of the remote and distant population through terrestrial technologies as compared to that using satellite. The cost of roll-out of terrestrial technologies increases exponentially with the degree of remoteness. Satellite-based broadband is most suited for such topographies. New innovative satellite technologies offer solutions to provide broadband access directly to end users at home in addition to backhauling component for terrestrial technologies. The Bharat Net project, India’s infrastructure backbone project for universal broadband also relies on the use of modern satellite technologies to connect remote and rural areas in the country.

India has every reason to be proud of its achievement in launching numerous satellites across different orbital slots in an extremely complex maneuver. ISRO’s missions have increased India’s attractiveness as a potential market for increased use of satellite communication. However, it lacks a comprehensive policy that addresses the need for a dynamic commercial satellite communication system along with other strategic focus areas, such as space security, which can be achieved using satellite technology.

This report looks at the regulatory environment for satellite communication across several countries along with a discussion on how the market has evolved globally.