India’s First High Throughput Satellite Broadband Service Launched With ISRO Infrastructure


India’s first High-Throughput Satellite (HTS) broadband service was launched on Monday with support from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Hughes Communications India Private Limited (HCI), a leading provider of broadband satellite and managed network services, announced the commercial launch of the HTS service at an event held in Le Meridien Hotel, New Delhi. S Somanath, Chairman of the ISRO, Partho Banerjee, President and Managing Director of HCI, and Shivaji Chaterjee, Executive Vice President, HCI, were present at the event. 

HCI’s HTS broadband service will combine Ku-band capacity from ISRO’s GSAT-11 and LSAT-29 satellites with Hughes JUPITER Platform ground technology. Ku-band is a microwave frequency band used for satellite communication and broadcasting, and uses frequencies of about 12 gigahertz for terrestrial reception, and 14 gigahertz for transmission. By combining Ku-band capacity from ISRO’s satellite with Hughes technology, high-speed broadband can be delivered across India, including the most remote areas. These regions are beyond the reach of terrestrial networks.

What Is HTS? How Is It Beneficial?

“HTS means High-Throughput Satellite. It is a technology which takes a frequency and multiplies it many times,” Shivaji Chatterjee, Executive Vice President, Hughes Communications India, told ABP Live.

“Instead of one bandwidth per frequency, HTS enables you to get five to 15 times bandwidth per frequency. So it is a frequency multiplication and reuse, which then gives more bandwidth, and enables a better user experience and throughput,” he added.

Chaterjee explained that HTS provides much more bandwidth, lower-cost bandwidth, and a much higher user experience.

“HTS provides much more bandwidth. It provides much lower-cost bandwidth, and it provides a much higher user experience, because from a kbps service, it goes to multi-megabit service,” he said. 

What Are The Applications Of HTS?

Referring to user applications, Chaterjee said that everyone, whether it is a business user, home user, or a mobility user, gets a much better experience. 

“I will say it is all about speed which is possible at a much lower cost,” he added. 

The HTS support will connect enterprise and government networks, and support applications such as Wi-Fi hotspots for community internet access, and satellite internet for small businesses, among others. HTS creates multiple spot beams across the country. 

Spot beam is a term used in satellite communications terminology to describe a satellite signal that is concentrated in power. This allows it to cover only a limited geographical area on Earth. 

HTS Will Reduce Bandwidth Cost

Chaterjee said that what HTS has done is a “revolution”, and with this revolution, several changes are going to take place in the time to come. He said that user experience is better, and interactive applications work faster with HTS. Also, many beams are overlapping, which gives extra capacity. There will be reductions in transmission of bandwidth. If the bandwidth cost drops by a factor of five, the user base is expanded. 

Who Are Availing HTS Services? Who Can Use HTS In Future?

Chaterjee also said that HTS can be used for emergency purposes. The Indian government wants to use HTS service to connect Gram Panchayats, and provide community services. With HTS, banking and rural banks will be benefitted.

The first customers of the HTS service are banks, telecommunication 4G operators, and SME broadband. This service is also used in the Indian Army, government offices, construction sites, and cyber cafes.

The Executive Vice President of HCI also said that HTS service will be provided with geostationary satellites and LEO is yet to be proven. The main advantages of HTS are fast speed, low-cost service, Wi-Fi connectivity, and mobility. 

What Did The ISRO Chief Say?

Addressing the event, S Somanath said that the use of LEO (Low-Earth Orbit) constellations to provide communication services may not bring benefits to all. “But for a country-specific application, it is clear that it is going to be GEO,” he added. GEO stands for geosynchronous equatorial Earth orbit. 

Somanath explained that the life of a satellite is 15 years, but ideally, the lifetime should be reduced. 

The ISRO Chief also said: “Thanks to the continuous efforts by the Government of India, there is growing optimism and excitement about enhancing public-private partnership in India’s space ecosystem. At ISRO we are committed to exploring and expanding the ways we can work with the private sector to help improve people’s lives and bridge the digital divide. With the new HTS capabilities powered by ISRO satellites, we are confident that HCI will continue to deliver excellent quality satellite broadband services and further enhance the connectivity experience that accelerates India’s digital transformation. With its inherent advantages and ubiquitous nature, the new HTS service will play a pivotal role in extending broadband connectivity to the remotest locations, difficult to reach otherwise, and create economic opportunities to boost the local economy.”

Somanath also said that the antennae can be changed based on the demand. Frequency changes can also be made. “We hope that we can build it in a short period of time,” he said.

HTS Uses Spot Beams

Addressing the event, Banerjee said that HTS is similar to what cellular technology does to microwaves. HTS uses spot beams. He also said that Hughes, which started in early 2001, runs more than one million subscribers, and has been working with the Department of Space. The company also had a merger with Bharti Airtel Limited.

He also said: “Available countrywide, HTS’ broadband from Hughes underscores our long-standing commitment to bridging the digital divide, delivering multi-megabit high-speed broadband at affordable rates. This new broadband service will address connectivity gaps, improve network performance, and support the high bandwidth requirements of government organisations, financial companies, cellular operators, mining and energy companies, among other businesses, large and small, helping to connect India to a limitless future.”