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Bharti-backed OneWeb recieves approval to provide sat com services in India

OneWeb, which provides satellite internet services in the UK, is co-owned by the country’s government, as well as Bharti, Airtel’s parent company.

On November 21, UK-based satellite internet services company OneWeb announced that it had received the necessary authorizations from the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) to launch Eutelsat OneWeb’s commercial satellite broadband services in India.  The company is co-owned by the UK government and Bharti, Airtel’s parent company. 

OneWeb has also received in-principle approval to establish and operate two gateways in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. The company had already received approval from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for providing satellite internet, and now, with the IN-SPACe approval in hand, it will be able to begin rollout once spectrum allocation takes place.

Besides OneWeb, many others like Space X’s satellite communication project Starlink and Amazon’s Project Kuiper are also currently in the process of receiving government approval for providing satellite services in India. 

When is spectrum allocation happening?

In April this year, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) released a consultation paper inviting feedback on the assignment of spectrum for space-based communication services, following a request for recommendations from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), via a letter in 2022. In response to this consultation, players like Amazon, Space X, and even OneWeb advocated for the administrative allocation of satellite spectrum as opposed to the current auctioning process.

While the consultation process ended in June, TRAI is yet to release any recommendations on satellite spectrum allocation. An official source speaking to the Economic Times has suggested that the authority will issue the recommendations after the appointment of a new chairperson. 

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Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

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