Bharti Enterprises seeks nod to set up ground stations for satellite firm

India needs affordable rural broadband connectivity, said chairperson of Bharti Enterprises, Sunil Mittal
Bharti Enterprises said on Thursday it has sought permission to set up ground stations in India for OneWeb, a UK-based company that proposes to put up 648 satellites to deliver affordable wireless internet.

Sunil Mittal, chairperson of Bharti Enterprises, said on Thursday that OneWeb satellites will cover every inch of the globe. “It is our deep desire (that) with co-operation from Isro we get landing rights (receiving signals) for India, putting up 2 or 3 ground stations in North, South and Western Parts of India and start delivering these services in the early part of 2022, when the entire constellation going to be up,” said Mittal, referring to the state-run space agency.

He sought ISRO's support to develop user terminals to cater the needs of Indian requirements. India needs affordable rural broadband connectivity. Reaching fiber and terrestrial radio in deep places like Andaman, deserts in Rajasthan, deep forest in Madhya Pradesh is going to be almost impossible. Why should these people be deprived of broadband connectivity, he questioned.

Bharti Enterprises, along with the UK government, in July successfully bid to acquire OneWeb. As part of the deal, the UK government will invest $500 million, another $500 million will come from Bharti Global Ltd, an entity owned by Mittal.

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