OneWeb is providing satellite internet service in remote areas : Sunil Bharti Mittal

#Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal, #internet connectivity, #OneWeb, #Sunil Bharti Mittal

Image courtesy: Twitter/@OneWeb

OneWeb, jointly owned by Bharti Enterprises, the British government, and other investors has started providing internet connectivity on all areas that are above 50 degrees across the globe, said Sunil Bharti Mittal, founder & chairman, Bharti Enterprises.

This would provide connectivity to a billion people living in deep rural areas, and other parts, where internet is not accessible through satellites, he added.

OneWeb so far has launched 322 satellites in the low earth orbit of the total 648 planned to offer internet service to everyone across the globe. Speaking at the Infinity Forum hosted by International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA), virtually from the GIFT City on December 3, Mittal said, test results so far has been delightful. “Latency is less than 50 milliseconds, and speeds are 100 Mbps or more. So it’s looking like a final solution to connect those people who have been left behind. So I am very excited about this. I call it a telecom network in space.”

The company has been working to get connectivity to last billion people in deep rural areas, deserts, and mountains, who do not have access to internet. Despite the subsidies, and Universal Service Obligation funds that have been allocated, there are large number of people in the US, Northern Europe, Africa and Asia, without internet access.

“In today’s time, not giving an internet means depriving people from a good life or a better life for their children,” he said.

To address this, Mittal said, “Space seems to be the only most cost efficient and the best way to do it,” he said.

OneWeb, owned jointly by Bharti Enterprises along with the British government and other investors are putting together satellites at 1200 kilometers which will qualify as a low Earth orbit constellation, providing 1.1 terabytes of capacity globally.

This would require a user terminal, to create a Wi-Fi hotspot or router, post which the regular phones will connect. Apart from connecting mobile, these satellite internet can also be used for IoT connectivity. For instance, cars that already active connectivity will always be connected to the network.

The company, he said, is already working on the second version. “We have already started to produce a design will have thermal imaging, surveillance, special payloads of the government needs. These will then give you (information about) forest fires, agriculture, issues in the underground rainfall patterns. All these will come in the future generation, which is three, four years away. It’s not decades away,” Mittal said.

Nandan Nilekani, co-founder, Infosys, said during the event that the low latency in connectivity can play a big role in India’s growth, economy, and also equity because as we become more dependent on digital.

During the pandemic, individuals and company that were connected well, whereas those who were not connected actually suffered. “The pandemic has taught us that digital is a lifeline, telecom is a lifeline,” he said. If each and every Indian can get connectivity that OneWeb promises, it could lead to dramatic growth, he added.

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