On September 8, American telco AT&T announced that it would be partnering with Bharti-backed OneWeb to boost the connectivity of businesses in remote areas. OneWeb is a satellite constellation that provides internet connectivity through several low-earth orbit satellites that blanket the earth. Such constellations only need a gateway anywhere in their coverage area on earth to provide internet connectivity, without sprawling terrestrial cabling on land to connect places in remote areas or at sea. This is the kind of technology that can be deployed easily, as many satellites are already in the sky, and the groundwork is limited to installing gateways. So when can India, a country with extreme inequality in data access, expect to start supporting LEO constellation broadband from players like OneWeb and SpaceX's Starlink? Satcom players seeking opening-up of regulations The industry pressure on the government to open up regulations in order to allow LEO constellations to operate is slowly building. But there are some key barriers to break down before these services can be offered in India. In November, Elon Musk's SpaceX wrote to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, saying that "While India has long encouraged satellite operators to deploy gateway earth station facilities within the country, this policy is thwarted by the absence of Ka-band frequency assignments that are required to communicate with those gateway earth stations. SpaceX encourages TRAI and spectrum agencies in India to develop an approval process for these assignments. This effort is fundamental to expanded high-speed broadband service in India."…
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