Hughes Communications India (HCI) in collaboration with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on Monday officially launched its first high throughput satellite (HTS) broadband internet service in the country. The company had been testing its operation in North India for the last year.
From northeast to desolate parts of Leh and Ladakh, the company, using ISRO’s Ku-band capacity of GSAT-11 and GSAT-29 satellites has promised to deliver high-speed satellite broadband services to remote locations across India.
Through the HTS technology, the company is already providing assistance to the Indian Army, and paramilitary forces patrolling the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and other remote border outposts.
ISRO Chairman Dr S Somnath, who was present at the launch stated that the partnership with the private sector was to help improve people’s lives.
“With the new HTS capabilities powered by ISRO satellites, we are confident that HCI will continue to deliver excellent quality satellite broadband services and further enhance the connectivity experience that accelerates India’s digital transformation.” said Dr Somnath.
It is pertinent to note that currently, cooperative banks, telecommunication 4G operators, and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are the customers of HTS service. At the moment, Hughes has 1 Gbps of capacity on HTS but expects to grow it to 10 Gbps to 100 Gbps in the future.
When quizzed if the company might be able to compete when the big players such as Starlink or Amazon find their way into the increasingly attractive satellite broadband service, Partho Banerjee, president and managing director, HCI stated that despite being in the B2B segment, their pricing was competitive.
“Currently, we are majorly operating in the B2B sector. In the B2B space, the value proposition is quite different from consumer space or single connectivity. There will be different segments but we are definitely cost-competitive. We are moving to the next generation of K band satellites as well where we will become even more cost-competitive,” said Banerjee.
A Make-in-India initiative
Meanwhile, Shivaji Chatterjee, senior vice-president of Hughes India stated that the company was truly in essence with the Make in India project.
“Of course the satellite is Indian (laughs). However, under Hughes India, we have a lot of products made in India. So far Reliance Jio, the entire system, the outdoor modem etc. are made in India. The antenna and the dishes you see are completely made by the company in India. The Indian Oil and SD-WAN project are also made in India,” Chatterjee told WION.
What is HTS?
Succinctly put, High-throughput Satellite differs from a conventional satellite in the sense that it increases capacity when using the same amount of orbital spectrum while simultaneously reducing the cost per bit.
According to Chatterjee, “HTS provides much more bandwidth. It provides much lower-cost bandwidth, and it provides a much higher user experience.”
HTS uses spot-beam to perform its operations, unlike traditional satellites which use a broad single beam or few beams. Spot beam technology allows to focus on a limited area and provides seamless and fast connectivity.
Hughes India uses its home-grown Jupiter system for both HTS and conventional satellite implementations worldwide. HCI is currently providing satellite broadband access to more than two lakh business and government sites across India.-(WION)