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India’s Satcom ecosystem at the cusp of transformation in the 5G and IoT era, says Aruna Sundararajan

November 21, 2018
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The Broadband India Forum (BIF), today held its fourth International annual Satcom Summit ‘India SatCom-2018’, in New Delhi. The event was inaugurated by Aruna Sundararajan, telecom secretary and chairman, Digital Communications Commission, Govt. of India.

Senior officials from Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) also graced the occasion. The event was attended by other leading Industry experts from India and abroad and other members of Satcom and broadband fraternity.

The Summit delved on various issues including the sector’s efforts to deliver connectivity and Broadband to the remote and difficult to access parts of the country, satellite mobility, inflight connectivity, new technologies and innovations, etc. The conference also deliberated on economic potential and ease of doing business issues in Satcom and broadcasting sector in India to find out the way forward for deployment of satellite communications technologies. The conference also reflected on drivers for next generation Satcom applications and services and satellite broadcasting in a converged era. A CXO Roundtable with Senior DoT officials was also organised on Nov 20, 2018, which was attended by more than 50 industry professionals.

In her address, Sundararajan said, “The National Digital Communications Policy (NDCP) 2018 seeks to enable the vision of Digital India and realises the importance of Satcom sector in achieving the Digital dream. Satcom is expected to play an active role in providing high speed broadband access and affordable digital connectivity to the unserved and underserved. The Government is committed to un-locking the potential of the Satcom to provide affordable and accessible broadband everywhere by connecting the unserved and the underserved and thereby help bridge the digital divide.”

Sundararajan expressed happiness that India’s digital ecosystem was moving into a higher orbit and acceleration and said that this was validated by key indicators such as an exponential growth in data consumption. More importantly this data growth, she said, was being driven by people using data for the very first time, most of who came from India’s rural hinterland. Indians, she said, are now well and truly part of the digital age, both as consumers and creators.

She also said that India needs to undertake a fundamental re-think on its SatCom policy in light of emerging requirements led by 5G and IoT among other developments. The policy would need to create a happy balance between autonomy, security and demand for services and a calibrated approach would be required to enable this and therefore bridge the communications deficit. She said that a future roadmap to enable this calls for serious engagement from all stakeholders that would create an ecosystem for significant investments, the potential for which she pegged at $100 billion.

Lastly Sundararajan highlighted that the satellite communications ecosystem was at the cusp of huge change led by new and emerging satellite technologies such as LEO (Low-earth-orbit) and MEO (Medium-earth-orbit) systems and India needs to examine how these systems can be brought into India.

Meanwhile, K Sivan, secretary, Department of Space (DoS) and chairman, ISRO stated, “The space technology plays a critical role in connecting the unconnected, despite the growing popularity of the terrestrial means of communication. When it comes to provide the connectivity to deep rural and inaccessible hilly areas, there is no alternative to Satcom.”

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