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Canadian firm Telesat eyeing India’s broadband market

Ayushi Kar Mumbai | Updated on July 19, 2021

Starlink, Project Kuiper, One Web have also expressed interest

Canadian satellite major Telesat is looking to enter the Indian broadband market and has initiated a discussion with the Department of Telecom to get clarity on the policy for satellite players.

Telesat will be joining a host of Satcom players that have expressed interest in providing high-speed internet to India using a constellation of low earth orbit satellites. Other international majors that expressed interest in India include Elon Musk’s Starlink, Jeff Bezos’s Project Kuiper, and Sunil Bharti Mittal-backed One Web.

“Representatives of Telesat was part of a recent meeting with the DoT where the policy framework was discussed," said an industry source. Laura Roberti, Spectrum and Market Access Director at Telesat, attended the meeting with the DOT. Roberti confirmed to Business Line that the Canadian company was looking at India’s LEO broadband market. However, Telesat is yet to respond to queries on its plans sent by BusinessLine.

LEO-satellites

The LEO-satellites, which orbit 500 to 2,000 kilometres from Earth, offer faster communications (they have lower latency) and often provide higher bandwidth per user than the current running Geosynchronous Earth Orbit satellites that offer broadband services. According to a 2020 Mckinsey report, the speed of communication is even more than cable, copper, and pre-5G fixed wireless.

Ottawa-based Telesat is one of the biggest satellite operators in the world, it started 50 years ago, intending to provide satellite communication services to Canada. Telesat is developing their low earth orbit network, Telesat Lightspeed. This will be a global network consisting of a 298 LEO satellite constellation, which will be integrated with on-ground data networks to provide broadband services worldwide.

But the DoT is yet to finalise the policy around allowing LEOs in India. “For the industry to grow rapidly, there is an immediate need to provide a level playing field and have regulations that are growth conducive for the industry and economically viable for both the industry and consumers,” said Anil Prakash, Director General, SatCom Industry Association-India.

Published on July 18, 2021

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