Shivaji Chatterjee (SC): In today’s world, connectivity is a necessity and it needs to be accessible at any time, anywhere and to everyone. Satellite plays a key role in realizing this. Generally speaking, satellite is preferred and also performs well in regions where terrestrial or wireless broadband doesn’t reach. In the past, the regions were identified largely as rural or remote areas. Earlier, there was not much demand for connectivity in rural areas. But thanks to the mobile revolution, the demand for data in extremely rural and remote areas is now picking up. Today, every individual needs voice, video and some form of data connectivity. That’s the macro point of it.
On the other hand, satellite industry has undergone a technological evolution. The satellites that were used a few years back were built for video broadcasting. There used to a broadcast beam for DTH or TV and so we were using bandwidth suitable for such broadcast. It was a common bandwidth across India. However, when it comes to the broadband, each subscriber has a unique requirement. Therefore, the satellite industry built the high-throughput satellite, which basically became like a cellular technology in the sky.
The cellular technology breaks the geography into small cells and it reuses the frequency and creates multiple cells. Using the same technology, we built satellites around it. Hence, instead of giving one frequency like a broadcast across the country, the technology allows satellites to break it into smaller cells (beams) and re-use of the frequency. As a result, the amount of bandwidth went 20-100 times more and the cost changed because we were now using the same amount of frequency. With this HTS technology, satellite broadband supply-side has become very cost-effective and has enough capacity to service the growing demands of rural and remote regions.
AA: So where does Hughes fit in as a service provider to telecom players?
SC: Hughes has been providing service providers with solution to enable their services requirements. We have two different types of engagement with the cellular service providers. In situations where service providers are unable to give 4G services in remote areas (like Reliance or Vodafone) they take satellite technology from us and connect the node B or base transceiver station (BTS). That’s one thing we do to help cellular companies connect the remote areas. We also have solutions to serve the enterprise market. In this case we take capacity from cellular service providers or telecom companies and provide service to the enterprise market.
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