The $1.4-billion US-based ViaSat Inc has approached the Centre for permission to provide high speed internet broadband to homes using satellite. It is discussing with the government to change the open sky regulations to offer its services.

“We have to get landing rights. There is security-related issue and restriction in beaming signals from our satellite to provide broadband internet,” said Sathya Narayanaswamy, Vice-President, ViaSat India.

If the Indian government policy allows, a ViaSat-3 class satellite could connect millions to broadband internet. Different ministries, including communication and telecom, need to give clearances, he told newspersons.

The company’s first step to enter Indian market was setting up a sales office in New Delhi. The second was setting up its new research and development centre in Chennai to accelerate the company’s initiatives in cloud, networking and virtualisation platforms.

To hire more The centre has started with 40 employees with plans to ramp up to 250 by 2019.

Currently, ViaSat provides high speed broadband internet service in the US through its satellite – ViaSat-1. Similar to direct broadcast satellite television using dish antenna in India, the company’s broadband service to nearly 7 lakh homes in the US is through dish antenna, which gets signals from ViaSat 1. The internet speed is 12-25 Mbps per home, he said.

At present, the company provides its service only in North America due to limitations in coverage of ViaSat-1 satellite launched in 2012. It plans to launch its second satellite – ViaSat 2 – to cover the US and Europe where it has formed a joint venture with Eutelsat to offer broadband Internet through satellite, he said.

ViaSat-2 built by Boeing will be launched in first quarter 2017 by Arianespace in French Guiana, said Kevin Harkenrider, Senior Vice-President, ViaSat Inc.

ViaSat-3 will cover West Asia and Asia Pacific, including India, though there is no specific time set for its launch, he said.

ViaSat also helps airlines such as JetBlue, United, Virgin America, American Airlines and Qantas provide Wi-Fi service onboard aircraft to stream video using Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Over one million devices are connected per month onboard the aircraft. There is a service level agreement honouring at least 12 Mbps to each connected device, he said.

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