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India’s First Satellite Network Portal Site

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August 04, 2023

Why in news?

OneWeb is to set up India’s first ‘satellite network portal site’ through a MoU signed with Gujarat government in Gujarat.

What is OneWeb?

  • OneWeb is a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite company aiming to establish a global communication network.
  • It offers broadband Internet access with lower latency of less than 100 ms, by utilizing LEO satellites.
  • The GEO-based networks by traditional geostationary satellites provide efficient network services with latencies of 500-700 ms.
  • The technology is currently working in Europe and Canada.

What is the project about?

  • OneWeb has 648 satellites orbiting at 1,000-1,200 km making 13 orbits per day, covering the entire globe.
  • The satellite network portal (SNP) site will serve as a signal and data downlink and uplink terminal or base station on the ground.
  • It also serves as an intermediary for data transmission through satellite tracking antenna systems.
  • The SNP site aims to provide affordable connectivity to various sectors, including the government, offering continuous and secure satellite internet access at affordable rates nationwide.

What are the key features of the project?

  • Location - The satellite network portal is to be set up in Katosan and Tejpura, Mehsana district of Gujarat.
  • Gujarat was chosen as the site for its combination of geographical and business interests.
    • Long coastline - Caters maritime interests
    • Business - Policy and incentives available in Gujarat met with OneWeb’s needs

India’s first round-the-clock solar-powered village Modhera is also located in Mehsana district.

  • Cost - It is scheduled to launch in 2023 with an estimated cost of over Rs. 100 crores for its Phase-1.
  • Regulatory Approvals - Setting up an SNP like this will require regulatory approvals from Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe), Ahmedabad and spectrum allocation from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and DoT (Department of Telecom).
  • Role of DST - DST Gujarat handles telecommunications and the Gujarat Electronics Policy (2022-2028).
  • So, DST-Gujarat will facilitate fiscal, non-fiscal incentives and assistance with regulatory and statutory approvals, such as change of land use, building permits, and fibre connectivity.

What is the significance of the project?

  • Technology - 40 SNPs are required to cover the entire Earth, but a large geography like India needs 2 such SNP.
  • The first one will be set up in Gujarat and the second is likely to be set up in the south.
  • Employment - The project is also expected to generate approximately 500 direct and indirect employment opportunities in the state.
  • Service - It provides satellite connectivity services to mobile network operators and internet service providers in a cost-effective manner.

How is the relationship between OneWeb and India?

  • Though OneWeb is an UK-based, India’s Bharti Enterprises serves as a major investor and shareholder in the company.
  • Bharti Enterprises’ founder Sunil Bharti Mittal serves as OneWeb’s executive chairman.
  • India (ISRO) launched 36 GEN 1 satellites of OneWeb.
  • A strategic 6-year Distribution Partner agreement between India (HCIPL) and OneWeb was announced to provide LEO connectivity especially areas outside the reach of fibre connectivity.

Quick Facts

Satellite broadband technology

  • Also known as satellite telephony, it is a satellite communication technology using satellite constellations in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
  • StarLink, Kuiper and OneWeb are some of the forerunners in this technology.
  • LEO satellites operate at an altitude of 500 to 1,200 km.
  • The lesser distance offers high-speed and low latency.

 

References

  1. IE | OneWeb to set up India’s first ‘satellite network portal site’
  2. Economic Times | Gujarat to get satellite network portal site
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