Broadband from space! Eutelsat OneWeb plans to look ahead of Starlink and Jio in Satellite broadband race

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In the race to provide satellite broadband services in India, Bharti-backed Eutelsat OneWeb is emerging as a frontrunner, poised to surpass competitors such as Elon Musk’s Starlink and Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio. Securing demo satellite spectrum in the ‘Ka’ and ‘Ku’ bands through administrative channels, Eutelsat OneWeb sets itself apart by targeting enterprise and government clients, unlike Starlink’s focus on retail users.

Conducting trials with key clients in India’s defense and public sectors, the company is preparing for a full commercial launch, anticipating commercial satellite spectrum allocation soon. With plans to comply with regulatory frameworks set by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Eutelsat OneWeb aims to cater to sectors such as defense, aviation, maritime, and government, while also extending satellite connectivity to support mobile broadband coverage in rural areas with limited terrestrial backhaul links.

Open to providing backhaul support services to any telco operating in rural India, Eutelsat OneWeb holds licenses from the space industry regulator, IN-SPACe, and operates earth stations in Gujarat and near Chennai, positioning itself as a key player in India’s satellite communication market. With a focus on bridging the digital divide, particularly in underserved rural regions, the growth potential in India’s space economy is significant, with projected value reaching $44 billion by 2033. 

Recent amendments in FDI rules for the space sector, categorizing satellite broadband as a telecom service, pave the way for increased foreign investment, allowing pure satellite internet providers to attract 100% FDI through the automatic route, akin to telecom service providers.

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