India SIA: “Satellite is solution for broadband”

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India’s influential Satcom Industry Association (SIA) is firmly backing the widespread adoption of satellite as the solution for delivering high-speed broadband to the nation.

The SIA comments, published by India’s Economic Times, said: “As an evolving economy, India offers a huge potential to be a world leader in technology and communications if the policy decisions are implemented in letter and spirit. Indian consumers in the tech-enabled space are adapting to technology and consequently are being able to transact – be it for commercial purposes or learning or work related – netizens in India are growing by the day despite the fact that 60 percent of India’s population is still offline.”

Anil Prakash, DG at the SIA-India commented: “It is therefore essential to make a balanced decision on the future of the 26 and 28 GHz millimetre-wave bands for India to unlock its digital future: it is win-win case to make 26 GHz band available for terrestrial 5G, and 28 GHz band available for satellite broadband as per global best practices as the satellite services are being offered at the same time to number of countries.”

Prakash added: “My reason for such a long introduction is to harp on the fact how technology is transforming our lives. In the days to come, this transformation can be monumental if satellite powered broadband services are available to public at large. Mobile internet and connectivity has its inherent limitations. While we are talking about 5G in India, let’s face the harsh reality – India’s large population is still using 2G mobile services. As the government gears for spectrum allocations, the hot topic in regard to the same is around the future of the two key millimetre-wave bands for broadband use: the 26 GHz band and the 28 GHz band. Globally, while, 28 GHz band is allocated for advanced satellite broadband services and applications, 26 GHz is earmarked for terrestrial 5G. We hope India follows the same policy to allow to nurture two complimentary technologies. Allocating 28 GHz in full for satellite broadband use is a risk-free option for India – it is an already proven and existing solution globally that will enable millions of people, public services and businesses in India to get online anywhere, anytime.”

“Ultra-High Throughput Satellites (UHTS) are a key enabler to achieve nationwide advanced connectivity and the reason is simple: satellite coverage footprints are directed from space, simultaneously reaching millions of people across the entire country. State-of-the-art UHTS can provide fibre-like broadband ubiquitously, both to fixed premises across the country and 5G-like connections for mobility uses,” he stated.

In an apparent supporting message for OneWeb’s plans, Prakash said: “Satellite can provide cost-effective connectivity to entire communities by distributing reliable broadband service to Wi-Fi hot spots that let citizens enjoy satellite-powered connectivity through their smartphones and tablets anywhere in the country.”

There is apprehension within the industry If the 28 GHz band is not allocated in full to satellite services as envisaged, it will limit the ability of the satellite infrastructure – Satellites, Ground Segment, Telemetry, tracking and Command infra, to carry the potential information payload to its capacity. At the very least the outcome is that it makes satellite communication operations very expensive and at worst scenario it renders SatCom economically unviable, depriving the country from exploiting this technology in achieving its full potential in nation digital connectivity.


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