Satellite network major to provide fast Net to 5,000 panchayats in 15 states, Galwan Valley

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NEW DELHI: Bharat Broadband Nigam Ltd (BBNL) and Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd (TCIL) have selected broadband satellite network major Hughes Communications India to provide high-speed satellite connectivity to 5,000 remote gram panchayats in over 15 states and UTs in places that lack terrestrial internet connectivity like fiber or cable. Significantly, the project will also cover the strategic Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh, where the standoff with Chinese troops has been going on since May, and border NE states.
The 5,000-panchayat sat link project, which Hughes India announced on Wednesday, is part of the government’s flagship BharatNet Programme to provide broadband connectivity to all 2.5 lakh gram panchayats throughout the country. Hughes India, a majority-owned subsidiary of US-based Hughes Network Systems, will provide internet service to each 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 in more than 40 satellites worldwide, a statement said.
BBNL CMD Sarvesh Singh said: “BharatNet is the backbone of Digital India, being created to achieve the objectives of the PM’s Digital India Mission. The BharatNet network is being created to provide affordable high-speed broadband access to rural citizens and institutions of all the gram panchayats. 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.”
Partho Banerjee, president & MD, Hughes India, said: “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.”
“The approximate cost of the project awarded to Hughes is Rs 100 crore,” Shivaji Chatterjee, SVP & business head, Hughes India, told TOI. In the Budget 2020, FM Nirmala Sitharaman had proposed Rs 6,000 crore to BharatNet, which would be implemented in three phases. While phase-1 covered 1 lakh panchayats, phase-2 is targeting 1.5 lakh and phase-3 will focus on upgrading existing infrastructure.
The project will cover gram panchayats in the hilly north-eastern states like Mizoram, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh, forested states like Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand and islands such as Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep.

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