Bharti Plans High-speed Internet via OneWeb

Bharti Group expects to launch high-speed satellite internet services in India by early 2022 using the OneWeb satellite constellation and has sought help from India’s space agency to build affordable access terminals for deployment across the country, chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said.

“OneWeb will be the world’s first low earth orbit constellation flying about 648 satellites at 1,200 kms, covering every inch of the globe,” Mittal said during a webinar on ‘Unlocking India’s potential in the Space sector’.

“It is our deep desire along with support and cooperation from Indian Space Research Organisation, we get our landing rights, putting up ground stations across the country and start delivering the services by early 2022, once the constellation is complete,” he added.

In July, Bharti, which owns India’s second largest mobile operator, joined hands with the UK government to acquire OneWeb, a satellite company backed by Japan’s SoftBank that had gone bankrupt earlier this year. The Bharti-led consortium will capitalise and operationalise the firm to offer internet services across the world.

OneWeb expects to do its first trials later next year in Europe, Mittal said.

Fibre connectivity or terrestrial radio connectivity to some parts of India are particularly challenging, especially in parts of Andaman & Nicobar islands, deserts of Rajasthan and forests in Madhya Pradesh. Satellite connectivity could, therefore, be helpful in delivering broadband internet access, he said.

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