65th International Astronautical Congress | India Seeking Outside Help on High-throughput Satellite

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TORONTO — The Indian government wants a high-throughput satellite generating at least 100 gigabits-per-second in orbit within five years and is seeking international partners in its development, an Indian Space Research Organisation official said.

If pursued, the project would mark a rare opportunity for foreign suppliers to crack India’s mainly closed satellite telecommunications market, which in any case has shown signs of opening in the past year.

“We are looking for international cooperation in this area,” ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan said in an address to the 65th International Astronautical Congress in Toronto.

ISRO, with help from domestic companies, builds its own satellites and operates them for its own account, and then acts as India’s telecommunications regulator with respect to pricing and market access by non-Indian satellite fleet operators.

For India, the question will be whether to adopt a satellite broadband model such as in the United States, where Hughes Network Systems and ViaSat Inc. own their own satellites, build consumer broadband terminals and sell the service; or to purchase competing technologies.

Germantown, Maryland-based Hughes, owned by EchoStar Corp. of Englewood, Colorado, has long targeted India as a market ripe for consumer broadband. Hughes has recently purchased Ka-band capacity on a satellite being built for fleet operator Eutelsat of Paris for a consumer broadband project in Brazil.