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Bengaluru, NFAPost: Hughes Communications India announced its selection by Bharat Broadband Nigam Limited (BBNL) and Telecommunications Consultants India (TCIL) to provide high-speed satellite connectivity to 5,000 remote gram panchayats.

Hughes India will enable Internet service for each gram panchayat using capacity from ISRO’s GSAT-19 and GSAT-11 satellites with the Hughes JUPITER System, the de facto standard for satellite broadband implementations, in use on more than 40 satellites worldwide.

The awards are part of the government’s flagship BharatNet Programme to provide broadband connectivity to all 250,000 gram panchayats throughout India.

Broadband access

Commenting on the development, BBNL Chairman and Managing Director Sarvesh Singh said BharatNet is the backbone of Digital India, being created to achieve the objectives of Hon’ Prime Minister’s Digital India Mission.

“The BharatNet network being created by BBNL, is to provide affordable high-speed broadband access to rural citizens and institutions of all the Gram Panchayats of the country We are very happy to be partnering with TCIL and Hughes to leverage satellite broadband to connect gram panchayats that are remote or located in difficult terrain,” said BBNL Chairman and Managing Director Sarvesh Singh.

Hughes India President and Managing Director Partho Banerjee said Hughes is committed to the government’s vision of enabling Digital India, and the company is excited about our partnership with TCIL and BBNL as part of BharatNet to bring high-speed connectivity to the remote gram panchayats.

“The most widely deployed satellite ground platform in the world, the JUPITER™ System will deliver reliable and highly efficient service, introducing more people across rural India to high-speed internet connectivity, enabling significant economic participation and social inclusion,” said Hughes India President and Managing Director Partho Banerjee.

BharatNet network

In India, Bharti Airtel is planning to offer high speed satellite internet by 2022 using OneWeb’s LEO constellation of internet satellites and is in talks with ISRO to build cost effective access terminals.

BharatNet network is created by BBNL is to provide affordable high-speed broadband access to rural citizens and institutions of all the gram panchayats of the country. The ISRO satellites will be using Hughes’ proprietary Jupiter system, a VSAT (very small aperture terminal) platform designed to offer highest possible capacity and efficiency for satellite broadband implementations. It is currently being used in over 40 satellites worldwide.

The timeline for the second phase of BharatNet project, earlier slated to be completed by August 2021, will now be extended as its pace was affected by the lockdown and movement curbs imposed by various governments due to COVID-19. As on September 1, 2020, close to 23,133 Gram Panchayats (including block headquarters) have been made service ready, and 1.47 lakh km of optical fibre cable has been laid under BharatNet phase-2.

The total cost of BharatNet, approved by the cabinet in July 2017, stands at Rs 42,068 crore, and as on September 1, 2020, Rs 24,473 crore has been disbursed by Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL).

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