The project of the Ministry of Communications on the transfer of Internet traffic through Russian stations complicates the legalization of OneWeb in Russia
The Ministry of Communications and Mass Media admitted that the use of Russian ground stations for passing traffic of subscribers of foreign satellite systems cannot fully prevent threats to the country's national security. To this conclusion came in the ministry, after considering the withdrawal of market participants on the draft changes in the rules for the use on the territory of the Russian satellite communication networks, which are under the jurisdiction of other States.
Nevertheless, the project of changes was previously proposed by the ministry itself “in order to prevent threats to national security caused by the uncontrolled use of foreign satellite communications and access systems”.
Currently, the rules state that the transfer of traffic through Russian gateways (that is, stations that are intermediaries between the satellite and the subscriber’s device when receiving a signal from space) must only be carried out by operators of mobile personal satellite communications. Among other companies is Iridium. The ministry proposes to expand this requirement on all traffic generated by satellite devices from the territory of Russia, including those that are roaming foreign subscribers. Reports about it RBC.
Experts argue that if the changes proposed by the Ministry of Communications are implemented, they will need to be applied not only to foreign owners of satellite systems for telephone communications. Also, new standards will have to be introduced for all other systems, including those that provide broadband Internet access services.
“This is logical, since satellite communication has become more actively used for access to the Internet, generating a large amount of traffic that the security services need to monitor. Owners of all satellite systems may need to coordinate their activities not only with the FSB, but also with the Ministry of Defense and the Federal Security Service, which significantly lengthens this process, ”said AltegroSky head of company Sergey Pekhterev.
He argues that the number of other systems to which the changes will apply will also include OneWeb, of course, only if the company receives the frequency spectrum necessary for operation in Russia. It is worth recalling that OneWeb plans to create an orbital constellation of 900 satellites to provide all the inhabitants of the Earth with high-speed access to the network by 2027.
Pekhterev, in particular, believes that the project of the Ministry of Communications and Mass Media cannot in any way affect the physical presence of foreign artificial earth satellites over the territory of Russia. Thus, it is impossible to affect the possibility of receiving and transmitting data from these satellites. At the same time, the ministry points out that “the question of the presence or absence of threats to the security of the Russian Federation from specific foreign satellites at the stage of preparing the draft resolution is not being checked”.
After receiving all the reviews, the Ministry of Communications and Mass Media took these comments into account, but only partially. Thus, the agency plans to introduce a transitional period within six months from the moment the amendments come into force, so that satellite communications network operators can “get the necessary approvals and conclusions about the absence of threats to national security.”
In addition to the draft amendments to the rules for the use of foreign satellite networks, the Ministry of Communications prepared amendments to the Law on Communications. According to them, satellite phones cannot be brought into the country - to anyone, except for the registered in Russia satellite communications operators. This need is explained by the desire to prevent threats to national security.
Market participants believe that the authorities wanted to hinder the work of the new global satellite communications and Internet operators, including OneWeb, StarLink and TeleSat. “Now it is assumed that regardless of whether the Russian authorities allow new operators to work in the country, people or interested organizations can bring in the country terminals capable of receiving signals from their satellites and use the services of these networks, and this should be prevented”, commented on the situation Sergey Pekhterev.
Anyway, but domestic organizations continue to collaborate with OneWeb. For example, Roscosmos fulfills the terms of the contract.to put OneWeb communication satellites into space. Roscosmos is now discussing both the possibility of obtaining a stake in the “big OneWeb” and an increase in the share in the joint venture, where the Gonets system currently has 40%.