OneWeb India, a subsidiary of Eutelsat OneWeb, has received authorization from the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) to offer satellite broadband services in India. This positions OneWeb India ahead of competitors like SpaceX’s Starlink and Reliance’s JioSpaceFiber, pending spectrum allocation by the Indian government.
The five-year authorization was announced today, with OneWeb India requiring spectrum assignment from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). Sunil Bharti Mittal, vice-chairman of Bharti Group, emphasized that this milestone is a significant step towards achieving the Digital India vision. The service aims to provide persistent internet coverage in rural and remote maritime areas of the country.
Eutelsat OneWeb has completed its Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation, enabling them to offer their services. The constellation consists of 648 satellites that are designed to deliver approximately 21 Gbps throughput over India, potentially revolutionizing connectivity across the nation.
OneWeb has already obtained permits from the DoT for satellite communication and internet service provision. They have also received in-principle approvals for two gateways in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, which will ensure strong connectivity throughout India.
The DoT is currently seeking advice from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) regarding spectrum allocation procedures. However, the process has been delayed due to the absence of a chairperson since October 1. Once a new regulatory head is appointed, TRAI’s recommendations can be released.
Bharti Airtel, a part of Bharti Group, plans to use satellite internet services to reduce data costs. Satellite technology can complement terrestrial networks, providing additional connectivity options for consumers. After its merger with Eutelsat, OneWeb aims to achieve global coverage by January 24th and is now just steps away from commencing operations in India.
This development comes at a time of increasing competition in the Indian satellite service sector. Reliance has introduced its affordable satellite service, while Starlink is still awaiting an operating license in India. Amazon continues to make progress with Project Kuiper, hiring locally for its satellite endeavors.
The global space race has also gained interest due to China’s growing space activity. IN-SPACe regulates space affairs in India, with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) overseeing commercialization efforts in the sector.