The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has allowed very-small-aperture terminal (VSAT) operators to offer satellite-based backhaul connectivity in order to help telcosin providing cellular mobile services and establish Wi-Fi hotspots.

Further, the sector regulator has recommended that VSAT service providers with closed user group (CUG) permits to be allowed to offer such backhaul connectivity to mobile carriers. It has also called for amendments in the standalone commercial VSAT-CUG service permit for this.

Further, TRAI has recommended suitable enabling provisions be made in the unified and unified licencevirtual network operator (VNO) permits to enable VSAT-CUG licence-holders to offer backhaul support to telcos, particularly in rural and remote areas.It has also recommended that VSAT operators to be allowed to share their active/passive network infrastructure elements to provide newer services.

Besides, TRAI has also called for changes in the current formula-based mechanism for computing spectrum usage charges (SUC) applicable to VSAT players using satellite frequencies under a national long distance (NLD) permit. It has now pegged it at 1 per cent of their adjusted gross revenue (AGR), excluding licensed revenue from non-satellite-based services. It has backed the same formula for computing SUC for VSAT-CUG permit holders. It has also suggested that the Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC), revise the specifications to ensure higher data rates supported by VSAT terminals.