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Issue of October 2004 

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The govt has taken a myopic view

Studies including Network Magazine's Infrastructure Strategies showed that the popularity of the VSAT was showing a steady decline. However, the recent recommendations TRAI made to the government offered hope to the VSAT industry. Partho Banerjee, President and Managing Director, Hughes Escorts Networks LTd speaks to Deepali Gupta.

Do you think the VSAT is already on its road to extinction?

In the past, VSAT's were seen as plain-vanilla connectivity options - a reliable alternative to the costly, unreliable terrestrial links. Today however, they run many a mission critical applications and it's this robust, scalable, cost effective and dynamic nature of VSAT's that will allow it to service customers for many years to come.

What does IPoS mean to an Indian organization?

Internet Protocol over Satellite (IPoS) has three principle advantages-

  • It is extensively field proven
  • It takes advantage of current state of the art technology that allows for the development of the lowest cost satellite terminals
  • It the only standard with demonstrated scalability to a large number of users

IPoS would enable an enterprise to use any application over its satellite network knowing it will not have any performance issue, use an open technology that can inter-operate with other open technologies and to get the highest performance per rupee of investment or expense.

To what extent will the exclusion of Hardware sale profits while assessing license fee help the VSAT industry?

This will simplify the accounting of VSAT licensees. Today the hardware is sold through a non-licensed company and hence the valuation of the licensee suffers as income and profits are split. Customers also prefer to deal with one entity for hardware supply and services - instead of multiple entities for hardware supply, bandwidth service and maintenance services.

What is your reaction to the government's recent rejection to open skies?

The recommendations made by TRAI in its broadband report was aimed at building momentum in the somewhat stagnant internet market - and make internet and broadband more accessible to consumers and the industry by offering greater applications and services to customers. However, we feel that the government has taken a very myopic view and are confident that with persuasion from the industry the government will indeed give VSAT industry its due.

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