Telecommunication Law

Norms, guidelines and procedures for satellite communications in India-2000

The norms, guidelines and procedures for implementation of the policy frame-work for satellite communications in India

as approved by Government in 2000 are as follows:


Government of India has decided that the Satellite Communications Policy should be implemented in such a manner that while operations from Indian soil may be allowed with both Indian and foreign Satellites, proposals envisaging use of Indian Satellites will be accorded preferential treatment.

The norms for operating with satellites from Indian soil shall be formulated by the respective Administrative Ministry/Department in accordance with the above directive and also in accordance with the Articles-2, 3 and 4 of this Satellite Communications Norms, Guidelines and Procedures.

For instance, in case of Broadcasting (TV and Sound) the conditions will be governed by the Broadcast Bill as may be passed by the Parliament. Similarly in case of GMPCS, the operating license conditions will be as determined by the GMPCS policy being piloted by the Department of Telecommunications. However, in respect of establishment and operations of Indian Satellite Systems the Articles of this Satellite Communications Norms, Guidelines and Procedures shall apply.




2.1 The Satellite Communications Policy Frame-work for India as approved by the

Government states:

(i) “Authorise INSAT capacity to be leased to non-government (Indian and foreign) parties following certain well defined norms

(ii) “Allow Indian parties to provide services including TV uplinking through Indian Satellites, subject to certain terms and conditions which are to be spelt out;”


INSAT is a multi-agency, multi-purpose satellite system providing Telecommunications, Broadcasting and Meteorological services. It is a joint venture of the Department of Space, Department of Telecommunications, Department of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The satellite in the system are either built by DOS or procured. It may also lease transponders from other satellite systems to augment its capacity. The ground system establishment and operation is the responsibility of the respective

Department/Ministry. The INSAT Programme is managed by the INSAT Co-ordination Committee (ICC) with the technical support of its Technical Advisory Group (TAG). The predominant users of INSAT communications capacity at present are the Department of Telecommunications (DOT), Doordarshan (DD) and All India Radio (AIR). The other major users are National Informatics Centre, Ministry of Defence, Security Agencies, Several Public Sector Units, educational sector and VSAT operations. Thus the use of INSAT by non-governmental users is not an entirely new idea and there are existing provisions and procedures. However, the new developments or anticipated developments that have led to a need for drawing up specific norms for the use of INSAT by non-governmental agencies are:

(a) The formation of Prasar Bharati and imminent formation of a corporate structure for DOT operations

(b) The insistence of Planning Commission and Finance Ministry for the creation of a corpus fund for INSAT System and the endorsement of the same by the Cabinet

(c) The entry of private sector in both broadcasting and telecommunications and the need to cater to the needs of this sector in the area of satellite communications

(d) The need to operate, in the long term, the communications infrastructure of India through Indian controlled systems

(e) The steps taken to incorporate capacity in the INSAT system for lease to private operators and for bulk lease.

(f) Establishment of several Private Global Satellite Communication Systems and the imminent privatization of INTELSAT and

(g) The commitments made by India in the WTO forums, etc.


2.3.1 As a baseline making the INSAT capacity available to the Commercial Sector should be based on sound business lines, i.e.., this activity should be on a ‘for profit’ basis and at the same time consistent with the Government policies in the concerned user sectors.

2.3.2 All the policies regarding INSAT system shall be determined by the INSAT Coordination Committee(ICC) keeping in view Policy Frame-work for Satellite Communications in India.


2.4.1 The user sectors can be broadly classified as:

(a) Telecommunications

(b) Broadcasting
(c) Education and developmental communications
(d) Security Communications for Defence Ministry/Services

2.4.2 Education has been separately identified since the future use by this sector is expected to be considerable. Also Security Communications is an area where the demands are expected to grow rather rapidly. In both these cases the normal licensing procedures that may be adopted in the case of commercial communications may not be applicable. The financial arrangements for INSAT system also may be different in the case of these sectors.


2.5.1 As far as allocations to Department of Telecommunications, Doordarshan and All India Radio for their direct use on the existing and planned capacity on INSAT satellites are concerned the existing practice shall continue. Planned capacity means the capacity projected by these agencies on a long term basis and included in the configuration of a particular satellite or series of satellite.

2.5.2 ICC shall earmark at least a certain percentage of capacity for use by the non-governmental users who have been authorized by law to provide various telecommunications services including broadcasting.

2.5.3 With reference to the other users ICC may evolve the procedures from time to time taking into account the capacity available and the prevailing situation in the satellite communications market.

2.5.4 In so far as broadcasting is concerned any use of INSAT capacity for serving India will be tailored to meet the provisions of the Broadcast Bill that may be enacted.

2.5.5 In so far as telecommunications is concerned any use of INSAT capacity for users in India will be based on the existing provisions/arrangements. ICC may review this arrangement at any time as required.

2.5.6 The responsibility for obtaining the necessary licenses to offer a service in a particular territory (in India or in other countries) shall be that of the Party which has taken the capacity on lease.

2.5.7 Operations with INSAT and providing the services in India will be subject to the Party obtaining the requisite operating and frequency/siting license from the concerned authorities.

2.5.8 In so far as capacity allocation for (a) Education and Development Communications and (b) Security Communications for Defence Ministry/Services is concerned, the existing practice of transponder allocations by ICC shall continue.


2.6.1 All the commercial activities of INSAT space-segment shall be carried out by the Department of Space/INSAT. Department of Space/INSAT means the organisation created in Department of Space for this purpose or the corporate structure meant for operating INSAT system if and when such an organisation is created.

2.6.2 Once capacity is earmarked by ICC for non- governmental users, Department of Space/INSAT is authorised to provide this capacity to the non-governmental users for services other than telecommunications, following its own procedures. It may enter into bilateral agreements with other agencies for marketing this capacity. In case the demand is more than the available capacity, the Department of Space/INSAT may evolve suitable transparent procedures for allotting the capacity. This procedure may be in the form of auction, good faith negotiations, first come first served or any other equitable method. In so far as telecommunications is concerned any use of INSAT capacity for users in India will be based on the existing provisions/arrangements. ICC may review this arrangement at any time as required.

2.6.3 The INSAT capacity may also be made available to foreign parties for operation in India or abroad.

2.6.4 When INSAT capacity is made available for operations from outside India, the Contract must ensure that such operations are carried out in conformity with the UN/ITU Constitution, Convention, Treaties, Agreements and Regulations and also consistent with applicable Government of India Policies.

2.6.5 The use of INSAT capacity by non-governmental Parties will be based on a formal lease agreement signed between the Department of Space/INSAT and the Party which will spell out the technical, financial, contractual and management clauses. In so far as Telecommunications is concerned the existing arrangement of providing the capacity to non-governmental users through DOT will continue. ICC may review the arrangement at any time as required.


Department of Space/INSAT may build in capacity for a non-governmental Party at its request based on commercial considerations and if technically feasible without

adversely affecting the capacity for already projected, accepted and funded Government needs. The additional capacity could be for providing services in India or abroad. Such capacity shall not be deemed part of the INSAT capacity from Indian Regulations point of view unless ICC specifically declares it to be so. However, Department of Space/INSAT shall ensure that providing additional capacity to foreign agencies are in accordance with the Government of India policies. ICC shall be kept informed of such steps. The commercial and other terms will be determined by Department of Space/INSAT.


3.1 The Satellite Communications Policy Framework for India as approved by

Government of India states:

“Authorise Indian Administration in consultation with Department of Space and other concerned regulatory authorities to inform, notify, coordinate and register satellite systems and networks by and for Indian private parties following certain well defined and transparent norms. The satellite systems of all Government Agencies to be established by Department of Space;”


“Indian Satellites” shall be defined as the satellites which are part of a satellite network or system which are informed, Co-ordinated, Registered and Notified by the Indian Administration following the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Radio Regulations (RR) and for the actions of which Government of India shall be internationally responsible. Indian Satellites are a subset of the broader concept of Indian Space Objects.


The Department of Space shall be the Administrative Ministry in respect of the satellite systems as per the Government’s Allocation of Business. Rules .The satellite systems of all Government Agencies shall be established by Department of Space. The associated ground segment could be established by the User Agencies.


For establishing Indian Satellite Systems three distinct authorisations/licenses will be required. These are:

3.4.1 Authorisation from Department of Space to own and operate an Indian registered satellite system, including the spacecraft control centre.

This authorisation is from the point of view of ensuring that the system will operate in accordance with the UN Outer Space Treaty and other associated treaties to which Government of India is a Signatory. This authorisation shall also take into account any security related concerns and ensure that the system is in conformity with the extant Space Policy of the Government.

3.4.2 Authorisation by the Wireless Planning and Coordination Wing (WPC) of the Ministry of Communications, being the Indian Administration, to operate a Space Station in accordance with the extant ITU Radio Regulations.

3.4.3 Operating licenses for the services to be provided by the system/network. In so far as India is concerned, these will be dealt with in accordance with the regulations in the particular sector as defined in Article 1. For instance, for broadcasting the Broadcast Act will apply .and for telecommunications, the Telegraph Act will apply. The Administrative Ministry for Telecommunications is the Department of Telecommunications and for the Broadcasting, it is the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.


In so far as the first two authorisations/licenses of 3.4 above are concerned a committee consisting of Secretaries to the Government of India in the Department of Space, Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Home Affairs, Secretary (R), Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Industry (Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion) with Wireless Advisor to the Government of India as a Permanent Invitee shall be the single window for clearing the systems. The Committee shall be chaired by the Secretary, Department of Space. The Secretariat of the Committee for authorising the Establishment and Operation of Indian Satellite Systems (CAISS) shall be resident in the Department of Space. After the CAISS approval the authorisations/licenses for the establishment and operation of the Satellite System shall be issued by Department of Space following its normal procedures. WPC shall also indicate the intersystem and terrestrial coordination as required.


In case of satellite systems of Private Parties and Public Sector Units, the following procedures, norms and guidelines shall be adopted:

3.6.1 Only Indian registered Companies may be allowed to establish and operate an Indian Satellite System. The application for notifying, registering and operating an Indian Satellite System/Network must be on behalf of a company registered in India (Applicant). The Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in such a Company shall not exceed 74 per cent. NRI/OCB equity will be treated at par with FDI. In the interest of facilitating investment by Indian Companies, only the direct foreign investment in the licensee Company (i.e. the Applicant) shall be considered for the cap of 74 per cent and the FDI in the investing company. If any, shall not be set off against this cap provided the FDI in such an investing company does not exceed 49 per cent and the management of the investing company is with Indian owners. However, CAISS may license Indian registered companies with 100 per cent foreign direct investment to establish Indian Satellite Systems with the condition that over a period of five years after the issue of license for the establishment of the Satellite System the foreign direct investment should be brought down to the extent of 74 per cent or less. In view of the complexities and sensitivity involved, the FDI in this sector would have to be approved by the Government and no company would be eligible for automatic approval from RBI. The CAISS may also consider authorizing the registration of systems /networks of foreign companies as Indian Satellite Systems/Networks in the interest of attracting advanced services or foreign investment.

3.6.2 The applicant must establish to the satisfaction of CAISS that they have the required technical, financial and legal credentials to construct, launch and operate the proposed satellite system in conformity with the time-scales contained within its business plan.

3.6.3 The Satellite System/Network notified or registered shall be operated in conformity with the relevant international treaties to which India is a Signatory.

3.6.4 The Satellite Control Centre/s (SCC), i.e., the facility that monitors correct functioning of the key technical parameters and controls the movements of the satellite with the ability to partially or completely close down the network, should be located within the territory of the Union of India, or at a place authorised by CAISS based on the technical requirements.

3.6.5 The Satellite Systems, whose SCC is located in a territory other than India shall be required to shift the SCC to a location inside the territory of the Union of India within a reasonable period as determined by CAISS but not exceeding two years from the time the license is granted. After the SCC is shifted within India there shall be no other SCC outside.

3.6.6 WPC/MOC shall have regulatory control over the SCC facility in the event of interference to other radio services.

3.6.7 The authorisation to operate and the orbit-spectrum notification/registration may be done for all satellite communications services:

(a) for new orbit-spectrum as per requirements

(b) in the unplanned bands
(c) in the planned bands as per the ITU established Plans
(d) for the allotted orbital slots as per ITU established Plans
(e) at frequency bands and orbital slots for which India has set up coordination process already in anticipation of requirements

3.6.8 For 3.6.7(a) and 3.6.7(b) other conditions being fulfilled, authorisation and notification/co-ordination/registration shall be done on a first come first served basis. In case of a conflict, Government owned system shall have priority. In case two or more non-governmental systems ask for the same orbit spectrum the Administration shall hold discussions with the Applicants and try to fulfill all the requirements. In case such a solution is not possible, the Administartion may file a common Advanced Publication of Information (API) and take a decision on the choice of the Applicant at the stage of AP S4 filing (Appendix 3) of ITU Radio Regulations or later depending upon the progress of coordination.

3.6.9 For 3.6.7(c) and 3.6.7(d) above, where these are linked to particular service (e.g., Direct Broadcast Satellite Service (DBS)), only the Licensee for the service could be considered as the Applicant. In this case a service operating license is not adequate and the Licensee shall apply for the satellite operating license and appropriate orbit spectrum license as well following the procedure for establishment and operation of Indian Satellite System.

3.6.10 For 3.6.7(e) above, INSAT Coordination Committee (ICC), through its Secretariat resident in DOS, shall announce its intention to make the orbit spectrum available for non-governmental applicants and invite applications giving a fixed closing date. Following this, the procedure described for 3.6.7(a) and 3.6.7(b) above shall be adopted.

3.6.11 In all the above cases, in the event of conflicting demands from two or more applicants which could not be resolved satisfactorily by adjusting the technical parameters, preference shall be given to the systems that propose to use satellites built in India and/or launched from India.

3.6.12 Before authorising the establishment of satellite systems and ITU filings for Applicants, DOS and the Administration shall ensure that the proposed system is compatible with other existing and planned Indian Satellite Systems including Satellite Systems of the Government of India.

3.6.13 Any costs incurred by DOS and Administration in carrying out these procedures shall be recovered from the applicant/s. The cost towards filing the API and subsequent coordination, notification etc. shall be borne by the Applicant.


For the purpose of obtaining authorisation for establishing satellite systems and for initiating the ITU coordination process the following procedure shall be followed:


The Applicant shall make an application for Operating an Indian Satellite System/Network to CAISS (addressed to the CAISS Secretariat resident at Department of Space) giving the following information:

(i) Technical description of the proposed system including information on:

(ii) Intended service, service area;
(iii) Network description and characteristics;
(iv) Spacecraft description, including nature and capabilities of all payloads and systems;
(ii) Spacecraft Launch Vehicle Project Plan with key milestones clearly identified Management Information including

(i) Methodology and source of selection of spacecraft and launch;

(ii) Arrangements for third party liability insurance
(iii) Management plan and control mechanisms Licensing information including operating license obtained already or applied for. Evidence that the Applicant has current financial ability to meet the cost of construction and launch of the proposed satellite(s) and that it has the financial resources to operate the system. A broad business plan of the Applicant showing the intended sources of funding and estimated revenues shall also be provided. Orbit-spectrum requirements including alternate choices indicating priority. The information on the proposed system along with data required for Advanced Publication Information (API) of Radio Regulations and Interference Analysis including frequency sharing with terrestrial system.

3.7.2 PROCESSING OF THE APPLICATIONS Based on the above information the CAISS Secretariat shall process the application of CAISS approval. CAISS Secretariat may ask for additional information on technical details, equipment configuration/specifications, the proposed locations, space craft design details etc. for the purpose of evaluating the proposal. The approval may be processed through circulation of the document. After the CAISS approval the Orbit-Spectrum requirements and the co -ordination information shall be passed on to the Administration for ITU filings. The financial and other information shall also be passed on to the Administration for meeting any due diligence requirements of ITU. The Administration means the ‘Wireless Planning and Coordination Wing’ of the Ministry of Communications (WPC/MOC). Based on CAISS approval, DOS shall also issue an authorisation for establishing and operating the space station subject to successful inter-system co- ordination of the proposed system. The authorisation shall also prescribe a reasonable time-limit (depending on the type of system), but not less than three years for the commencement of service. CAISS may, at its discretion grant relaxation of this limit for reasons to be recorded. Department of Space may also levy a reasonable processing fee for providing the license. Department of Space may charge a reasonable fee for issuing a license for establishing and operating an Indian Satellite System. Issue of the above Space Station Operating License does not imply granting of service Operating License or Frequency/Siting clearances for ground stations. These must be obtained by the Applicant separately from the appropriate authorities in India or other countries as the case may be. After the API stage, the Applicant shall provide updated and more detailed information on the items enumerated under 3.7.1 and coordination data as per APS4 (Appendix 3) as may be required by CAISS Secretariat and Administration. If the information provided by the Applicant under above is found satisfactory for pursuing the coordination process with ITU, the Indian Administration shall take all necessary steps to inform, coordinate, notify and register the Satellite System/Network in an expeditious manner. The Administration shall prescribe a reasonable fee for making the filing and further processing the coordination. Filing and initiation of the ITU coordination process does not guarantee successful coordination and shall be done at the sole risk and cost of the Applicant. CAISS/DOS/Administration shall not be held responsible for the same.

3.7.3 COORDINATION WITH OTHER SATELLITE SYSTEM OPERATORS / ADMINISTRATIONS Following the CAISS approval for the establishment of an Indian Satellite System, the Administration shall initiate and carryout inter system coordination in consultation with Department of Space. The Administration may, in the interest of expediting the coordination process, authorise the Applicant to deal directly with other Satellite System Operators/Administrations on detailed technical aspects of the coordination of frequency and orbital locations in accordance with the procedures of the Radio Regulations, provided the Applicant demonstrates to the Administration’s satisfaction that they have the necessary competence to carry out the coordination. The Administration shall attend any coordination meeting where it is deemed necessary. Any coordination agreements reached shall be subject to ratification by the Administration in consultation with DOS. All processing, coordination and associated costs shall be charged to the Applicant. Copies of all correspondence relevant to the coordination process shall be sent to the Administration. The authorisation, if granted shall be dependent upon the continued compliance with the procedures.

3.7.4 PROGRESS MONITORING AND OTHER CONDITIONS The Status reports indicating the physical and financial progress of the establishment of the system shall be submitted by the Applicant to the CAISS Secretariat and the Administration on an annual basis. DOS/Administration may cancel the License/Notification for the system without any liability to DOS/Administration in case the progress in establishing the system is not satisfactory and the license fee paid by the applicant shall be forfeited. DOS shall have the right to ensure that the spacecraft is designed and built to carry out only the functions for which it is authorised. The measures may include inspection of the spacecraft before its launch. The Applicant must facilitate this. DOS shall have the right to inspect the SCC facility and ask for modifications/augmentation, as deemed necessary. All foreign personnel deployed for installation/operations/maintenance of the SCC shall be security cleared by the Government. After the launch of the Space Station, DOS shall arrange to notify the UN about the establishment of the Space Station as per the relevant UN convention. Failure to fully comply with the established procedures could result in the cancellation of the notifications with ITU and the cancellation of the authorisation to establish the satellite system. DOS shall have the right to take over the system, equipment and networks of the licensee in part or in whole in case of emergency or war or low intensity conflict or any other eventuality in public interest, as declared by the Government of India. Specific orders or direction from the Government of India issued under such conditions shall be applicable to the licensee. DOS reserves the right to modify these conditions or incorporate new conditions considered necessary in the interest of national security.


The Administration with the approval of CAISS may, on the request of the Applicant, allow the transfer of a filing or registration from one Applicant/operator to another Indian Satellite System Applicant/Operator after satisfying itself that it does not adversely affect the public and national interest.


In regard to the use of foreign satellites for services in India, Government states


(a) Operation from Indian soil with foreign satellites may be allowed only in special cases to be notified. These may be in the case of overseas services using international inter-governmental systems, systems owned and operated by Indian Parties but registered in other countries before rules for registrations have been formulated in India, international private systems where there is a substantial Indian participation by way of equity or in kind contribution and where considered necessary reciprocal arrangements could be worked out with the country/countries of registration or ownership.

(b) While operations from Indian soil may be allowed with both Indian and foreign Satellites, proposals envisaging use of the Indian satellites will be accorded preferential treatment.

(c) Satellite broadcasting including Direct to Home (DTH) TV broadcasting, may be licensed by the Licensing Authority constituted under the relevant statute, on Indian Satellite Systems or any other satellite system, excepting those prohibited for the purpose by the competent authority, notified by the Central Government in this regard, on technical or security considerations. In cases where operations of services with foreign satellites are licensed, the Licensing Authority at the time of renewal or re-issue of licenses for these services, will require the licensee to opt for the Indian Satellite System subject to availability of capacity which meets the requirement of the service.

(d) Department of Space should ensure that the various provisions of the Policy would conform to the proposed Broadcasting Law.


The Satellite Communication Services could be broadly classified as

1. International (i.e., trans-border) communications services

2. Domestic communication services


In so far as International communication is concerned the existing practice of using International Inter-Governmental Systems shall continue. Private sector off-shoots, which retain their international character and include Indian equity will also be eligible. However, wherever Indian Satellites provide capacity and capability for international communications, the use of the same shall be allowed subject to International Agreements. The International communications provider shall actively promote this use in accordance with the applicable international agreements. The International Communications Services will include PSTN, GMPCS, Value Added Services, Programme Exchange etc., where one end of the link terminates in a foreign country i.e., the ‘call’ either originates or terminates in a foreign country. The Maritime Mobile Satellite Service (MMSS) and Aeronautical Mobile Satellite Servie (AMSS) may be treated as International communications, even though there may be an element of domestic traffic, in respect for operations with foreign satellites.


In so far as Domestic Satellite Communications Services are concerned, convergence of communications, broadcasting and information technologies notwithstanding, the usage shall be categorised as follows:

4.3.1 Broadcasting (moving images (TV) and associated sound; and audio (radio))

(h) Free to air satellite broadcasting – digital or analogue

(i) Broadcasting meant for reception by subscribers

The receivers may be fixed, portable or mobile as the case may be. Audio-video teleconferncing, data transfer (one way or duplex) and computer networking are not part of this category.

4.3.2 Public Switched Telephone Network (domestic)

This will have two sub-divisions namely, the network provided by the Public and Private sectors (presently DOT and Basic Telecommunications Operators respectively). Also included will be any switched service including ISDN.

4.3.3 Value Added Services (domestic)

This includes VSATs for closed user groups, Private VSAT service with shared hub, Cellular and Paging services interconnection, Video Teleconferencing, Audio/Video Programme exchange, data broadcasting, Conputer networking, Internet services, Multi-media communications, etc.

4.3.4 Land Mobile Satellite Services (Domestic and Coastal Waters):

This includes communications to and from moving vehicles, hand-held personal terminals and portable small terminals.


For any use of foreign satellites for any of the above services, the Administrative Ministry/Department shall adopt the following norms/procedures from the point of viwe the Satellite Communications Policy Frame-work. This shall be in addition to the procedures/norms that the Administrative Ministry/Department may have for processing the issue of service license.

4.4.1 The Administrative Ministry shall consult the Department of Space, which is the Administrative Department for dealing with the subject on “Establishment, procurement and use of space based systems”, before authorising any operations with foreign satellites.

4.4.2 For services listed under item 4.4.1 above, the procedure prescribed in the Broadcast Bill shall apply. For services listed under items 4.4.2 to 4.4.4 the procedures prescribed from time to time by Ministry of Communications shall apply.

4.4.3 For services listed from 4.4.2 to 4.4.4 wherever capacity and capability exists in the Indian Satellites, the services shall be authorised only on Indian Satellites. If for lack of capacity or capability reason, operations and foreign satellites are authorised, the permission or license should stipulate that the operations should shift to Indian satellites as soon as the capacity and capability is available. To that extent the initial permission should be issued only for a limited period and must be reviewed before renewal.

4.4.4 While examining a propoasl for permitting a service to operate through a foreign satellite, the need aspect should be considered from ‘end to end’ and not only on the basis of frequency band of operation, equipment availability from a vendor or vendors etc. The proposal should be examined to see that there is no deliberate attempt to exclude Indian Satellite Systems.

4.4.5 While authorising foreign satellite operations under 4.5.3 above, preference shall be given to (a) Inter-Governmental International Systems in which India is a Signatory/Party and (b) Other systems where there is a substantial Indian participation by way of equity or in-kind contribution.

4.4.6 The process of giving operating license must ensure that the system is internationally coordinated for frequency and orbit. It should also ensure that the security concerns are fully addressed.