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NEW DELHI: The investment proposal to launch a high throughput satellite in India for affordable broadband services, originally submitted in 2016 by Hughes Communications, continues to hang fire following the bureaucratic apathy, a top company executive said.

“We have had an investment proposal with the government since 2016, which is now like five years old but hasn’t moved. We had actually proposed that we will build a high throughput satellite (HTS) to provide services in India,” Pranav Roach, President, Hughes Network Systems told ETTelecom.

High throughput satellite or HTS, is a communications satellite that provides more throughput or capacity, and lowers cost-per-bit, and is deployed to offer broadband Internet access service to unserved regions.

Roach further said that for a vast country like India multiple technologies may be used to facilitate Internet access for everyone, and added that satellites will essentially grow the availability of broadband services to regions which are currently outside the broadband map.

The proposal for an initial investment of upto $500 million was submitted to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) under the Department of Space (DoS).

“We have made a proposal that we will put up a high throughput satellite which will make broadband access possible for people mainly staying outside the cities
which are called the underserved or unserved regions of the country,” the top executive said.

HTS enables the satellite industry to cost-effectively provide large-scale internet services to hard-to-serve areas worldwide, according to the company.

Lately, the Indian satellite communications or SatCom sector has witnessed heightened activity following Bharti Global’s stake in the UK-based OneWeb, and Elon Musk-owned Starlink’s ambitious satellite broadband strategy in the country.

The US-based company has also offered users to pre-book service plans priced at a refundable fee of $99 (nearly Rs 7,300), and is expected to foray into the Indian market by 2022 while the London-based SatCom firm too have similar plans to provide services starting mid of next year, according to OneWeb executive chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal.

“The objective (of OneWeb) is to basically provide coverage for affordable broadband access. But, I think the challenge is obviously working in the regulatory arena because that’s not something that has been announced as yet,” Roach said.

The top executive feels that while a clarity around regulatory regime and frequency distribution is yet to come, the SatCom sector would improve Internet availability especially in unserved and remote areas.

In January this year, Hughes Network Systems together with Japanese conglomerate SoftBank invested $400 million in the UK-based OneWeb.

Roach believes that following the deployment of SatCom technology, the delivery of broadband services would soon become ubiquitous.

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