ISRO and Hughes launch India's first commercial satellite broadband service

India’s first HTS: Hughes Communications India (HCI) in collaboration with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) officially launched its first High Throughput Satellite (HTS) broadband internet service in the country.

Key Points:

  • The HCI, which is a subsidiary of US-based global broadband service major Hughes NetworkSystems had been testing its operation in North India for the last year.
  • The company aims to connect enterprise and governmental networks by providing high-speed broadband across the entire nation, particularly in the most remote areas that are outside the range of terrestrial networks.
  • The company, through the HTS technology, had till now been providing assistance in some states and also to the Indian security forces along the China border, including in the Galwan region.
  • The Hughes HTS broadband service combines Ku-band capacity from Isro’s Gsat-11 and Gsat-29 satellites with Hughes’ JUPITER Platform ground technology to deliver high-speed broadband across India.

What is High Throughout Satellite Technology?

  • High Throughout Satellite Technology (HTS) differs from a conventional satellite in the sense that it increases capacity when using the same amount of orbital spectrum while also decreasing the cost per bit.
  • It provides much lower-cost bandwidth and a much higher user experience.
  • Unlike traditional satellites which use a broad single beam or few beams, HTS uses Spot-beam to perform its operations.  
  • Spot beam technology focuses on a limited area and provides seamless and fast connectivity.
  • Home-grown Jupiter systems are used by Hughes India for both HTS and conventional satellite implementations worldwide.

Significance of HTS technology:

  • HCI is currently providing satellite broadband access to more than two lakh business and government sites across India.
  • The service allows applications such as Wi-Fi hotspots for for community internet access, managed SD-WAN solutions, backhaul to extend mobile network reach, and satellite internet for small businesses.
  • Presently, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), telecommunication 4G operators,  and cooperative banks are the customers of HTS service.
  • It also aids the Indian Army, and paramilitary forces patrolling the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and other remote border outposts through the HTS technology.
  • Hughes, at the moment, has 1 Gbps of capacity on HTS but expects to grow it to 10 Gbps to 100 Gbps in the future.
  • As per Dr. Somnath, the new HTS capabilities powered by ISRO satellites, HCI will likely continue to deliver excellent quality satellite broadband services.
  • HTS is most likely to enhance the connectivity experience that expedites India's digital transformation.

A Make-in-India initiative:

  • The senior vice-president of Hughes India, Shivaji Chatterjee, stated that the company was sincerely committed to the Make in India project.
  • The senior vice-president also said that the satellite is Indian.
  • Reliance Jio, the complete system, the outside modem, and other components are currently built in India.
  • The antenna and the dishes are also completely made by the company in India.
  • The Indian Oil and SD-WAN project are too made in India.