Hughes to empower 5,000 India villages with net services

Source: LiveMint.com, Oct 14, 2020

Hughes India, a subsidiary of Hughes Network Systems, will provide internet services to 5,000 remote villages in 15 states and UTs including Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Tripura, Manipur, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep using ISRO’s communications satellites, GSAT-19 and GSAT-11, it said Tuesday.

Hughes India was awarded the contract by Bharat Broadband Nigam Ltd (BBNL), a special purpose vehicle created to implement government of India’s BharatNet project, which strives to bring internet connectivity at speeds of 2 to 20Mbps to 2.5 lakh gram panchayats across India.

“BharatNet network being created by BBNL is to provide affordable high-speed broadband access to rural citizens and institutions of all the gram panchayats of the country. We are very happy to be partnering with TCIL and Hughes to leverage satellite broadband to connect gram panchayats that are remote or located in difficult terrain,” Sarvesh Singh, CMD, BBNL said in a statement.

The ISRO satellites will be using Hughes’ proprietary Jupiter system, a VSAT (very small aperture terminal) platform designed to offer highest possible capacity and efficiency for satellite broadband implementations. It is currently being used in over 40 satellites worldwide.

In addition to using Jupiter system gateways, Hughes India will also take care of network operations and will install solar-powered user terminals and equipment at each site to deliver speeds up to 10 Mbps to the rural population.

Satellite internet is finally coming of age with several service providers in the fray now with a constellation of lightweight satellites hovering much closer to earth in the lower orbit. Elon Musk led Space X has already launched over 500 internet satellites and will start offering services in the US sometime in 2021. In India, Bharti Airtel is planning to offer high speed satellite internet by 2022 using OneWeb’s LEO constellation of internet satellites and is in talks with ISRO to build cost effective access terminals.

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