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21 May 2017

New ISRO satellites to bring high-speed internet to Indian users

In a bid to bring high speed Internet connectivity, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has announced plans to launch three communication satellites in the next 18 months.

Kiran Kumar, ISRO Chairman notes, "We will launch three communication satellites, GSAT-19 in June and GSAT-11 and GSAT-20 thereafter".

Once operational, these satellites are expected to substantially increase Internet speed and further revolutionize future communication trends.

In context

Can ISRO's schemes solve India's internet connectivity woes?
Why is this being done?


Why is this being done?

Despite having overtaken the US to become the world's second largest Internet user base, India's internet speed stands at a staggering 4.1 Mbps. It is ranked 105th on world's fastest Internet connectivity list.

India's user base is further expected to touch 432 million by June, marking a 4-8% increase from December 2016 figures, mandating an increase in speed.

Spot beams

What does ISRO propose to do?

The three satellites: GSAT-19, GSAT-11 and GSAT-20 would make use of multiple spot beams, from a high-gain antenna, resulting in increased connectivity and speed.

Spot beam, a satellite signal operating at high frequencies would concentrate on a limited geographical area, with its strength inversely proportional to its scope.

The satellites would further repeatedly reuse these beams over smaller areas, to achieve maximum effectiveness.

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What difference do the spot beams make?


What difference do the spot beams make?

These new satellites can provide "high-quality Internet, phone and video services" once operational.

While GSAT-19 will use eight beams transferring 4 GB/ second, GSAT 11 scheduled to be launched by the end of the year, will use sixteen beams transferring 13 GB per second.

Further, GSAT-20 scheduled for launch in 2018 will use 40 beams allowing for a speed of 60-70 GB per second.


What now?

Tapan Mishra, Director, Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad notes, the launch of the three satellites would mark the beginning of high throughput satellites in India, which have been instrumental in facilitating cheaper Internet access in developed countries.

The satellites have further been dubbed, " a game changer for India", and is expected to drive India's future communication trends including popularize television viewing on the Internet.

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