DTH player Dish TV has warned the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) that the launch of low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite internet services will foment interference issues for legacy space technology players in India.

A number of the world’s largest tech companies, including Amazon’s Kuiper, SpaceX’s Starlink and Bharti Enterprises’ OneWeb, are attempting to sell their satellite capabilities. These companies are selling high-speed, low-latency internet capacity to India in order to provide access to the internet in remote areas.

However, before these services go live, the government needs to decide whether spectrum frequencies for satellite services are administratively assigned or auctioned.

Players with a stake in the satellite business such as broadcasters, DTH services, LEO operators, and space tech start-ups have presented a united front to the government, arguing that satellite spectrum should not be auctioned.

Hurting business of legacy players

Dish TV warns the regulator that even in the case of administrative assignment, TRAI would have to be circumspect of interference issues that will affect the business of legacy players in the space technology space.

LEO systems, according to Dish TV, will be using the Ku Band, (10.7 to 12.7 GHz) for downlink purposes, i.e. sending information back from the satellite to Earth; DTH players like Dish TV operate in this band as well.

Administrative assignment of the spectrum is not supposed to create interference issues in satellite technologies, unlike terrestrial airwaves, where operators are allocated entire blocks of spectrum to avoid interference issues with other operators.

Dish Networks Vs SpaceX

Dish TV cited a suit filed by Dish Networks in the US against SpaceX, regarding the issues of interference. Here, SpaceX’s Gen2 satellites were causing interference with Dish Network’s DBS satellites in the 12 GHz band. The case in the DC Circuit is against the FCC authorisation of SpaceX’s Gen2 satellites.

Therefore Dish told TRAI, “In India, we have an opportunity to frame a GSO and Non-GSO policy where there is protection for legacy systems serving tens of millions of customers, instead of opening up spectrum to foreign operators causing direct interference in India’s licensed and established systems, causing undue benefit to operators at the cost of loss of Indian customers.”