Private firm Eutelsat-OneWeb has received the necessary clearances to offer 4G-speed internet services in India. The company is awaiting satellite spectrum allocation from the Government of India. They have a constellation of over 640 satellites placed 1200kms above the earth’s surface. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) assisted in placing 72 of these satellites into orbit.
Eutelsat-OneWeb is the first company to receive such clearance in India. Other companies, including Elon Musk’s Starlink and Mukesh Ambani’s JioSpaceFiber, are also attempting to enter the Indian market. Reports indicate a technical setback for JioSpaceFiber due to the functionality of certain satellites.
Eutelsat-OneWeb aims to provide internet services to rural and unconnected areas of India on a 24/7 basis. They plan to offer a total internet speed of 21Gbps. Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman of Bharti Group and Vice-President of the Board of Directors of Eutelsat Group, expressed optimism about the approval, highlighting its importance in achieving India’s goal of providing internet connectivity for all.
The government-run facilitator and regulator for private space firms in India, IN-SPACe, has authorized Eutelsat-OneWeb’s constellation to provide communication services in India. This authorization has a validity period of five years and is subject to spectrum allocation by the Indian Government’s Department of Telecommunication (DoT) and other necessary licenses and approvals.
Eutelsat-OneWeb has also obtained in-principle approval to establish and operate two gateways in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. These gateways will ensure high-speed, low-latency internet connectivity across India once services are launched.
Eutelsat-OneWeb operates low Earth orbit satellites, which orbit the Earth at an altitude of 600-1200kms and travel at high speeds. Each satellite offers coverage over a small area for a limited time. The company has a fleet of over 640 satellites to ensure continuous coverage. These satellites enable internet usage in remote areas, on flights, and on ships.
In contrast, geostationary satellites are positioned much higher above the Earth’s surface and have a constant position relative to the Earth. While they can provide near-total global coverage, signals are challenging to receive in regions near the Earth’s poles. Additionally, there is a significant amount of lag due to the distance between the satellite and Earth, making geostationary satellites less ideal for telephony, video calls, and online gaming.