Hughes Announces Satellite Broadband Internet Service with Isro

Hughes Communications India, a joint venture of US-based Hughes Network Systems and Indian telecommunications operator Bharti Airtel, has announced the launch of its first high-speed satellite (HTS) broadband internet service in the country. The service will offer internet via satellite to remote locations across India and will use geosynchronous satellites (GSAT)-11 and GSAT-29 of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) to deliver the service.

As Mint reported on March 22, the company planned to roll out the service by April this year. “We are going to start offering satellite Internet for MSMEs (micro, small and medium-sized enterprises). We are targeting all of East and North East India as well as the hilly regions of Himachal, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, etc.” said Shivaji Chatterjee, Vice President senior of Hughes Communications India, at Mint earlier this year.

He also said the initial HTS broadband service will start with internet speeds between 2 and 10 Mbps. However, Hughes has yet to confirm the bandwidth and target areas his now-launched service would cater to.

HTS refers to satellite connectivity that provides higher bandwidth, which in turn increases the amount of data that can be transferred between a satellite and a ground station. Typical satellite connectivity has experienced high connectivity latency, which refers to the time taken between a set of data to be transferred between a sender and a receiver. Latency, not bandwidth, is what users typically perceive as “internet speed”.

Satellite connections also have low bandwidth. Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be transferred between a sender and a receiver each second. On satellite connections, this has generally always resulted in download and upload speeds of less than one megabyte per second, which next-gen connections can help change. Pranav Roach, president of Hughes Network Systems India, told Mint in February this year that high-bandwidth satellites can also bring gigabit-class connectivity to satellite networks – and the recently announced Hughes HTS network is a forerunner of this.

HTS satellites seek to improve on this, and therefore bring satellite Internet connectivity closer to the standard of terrestrial Internet networks. While the latter generally offer lower latencies and higher bandwidth, establishing physical connectivity over fiber optics could be difficult in difficult terrain areas, such as those Chatterjee had highlighted.

In 2018, ISRO launched GSAT-11 and GSAT-29 with the aim of bringing higher bandwidth satellite connectivity to Indian customers in the corporate space. After the launch of GSAT-11 in December 2018, former ISRO President K. Sivan told a press conference that the satellite is capable of delivering peak data bandwidth of 14 Gbit/s via satellite networks.

While the GSAT-11 and GSAT-29 satellites carry transponders (instruments that relay data from the satellites) in Ku-band and Ka-band frequencies, the Hughes HTS service will only use Ku-band for data transfers. high bandwidth. .

Hughes did not respond to questions about whether it has already signed up customers for its satellite broadband internet service in India at the time of writing, or by what margin the new service improves broadband service by existing Hughes satellite in the country.

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