Isro chairman K Sivan told TOI, “The launch of four high-throughput satellites will provide the country broadband connectivity of over 100 gigabits per second (Gbps) by next year. Gsat-19 was already launched in June last year, Gsat-29 will be launched by November and Gsat-11 (Isro’s heaviest satellite weighing over 5.7 tonnes) will be launched from French Guiana by December. The launch of Gsat-20 has been scheduled next year.”
He added, “Together, all these satellites will provide high-speed internet connectivity in the country, especially in rural areas, and help bridge the digital divide.”
The new satellites are special as they use multiple spot beams (a special kind of transponder that operates on a high frequency) that will increase internet speed and connectivity. A spot beam is a satellite signal that is specially concentrated in power so that it covers only a limited geographical area on the earth. The narrower the beam more is the power. These satellites will reuse “beams” (signals) several times in order to cover the entire country. In contrast, traditional satellite uses a broad single beam (not concentrated) to cover wide regions.
With around 500 million internet users, India has the world’s second largest internet user base, ranked only behind China. But the country still ranked 109th in mobile internet speed and 76th in fixed broadband speed, according to Ookla’s last November Speedtest Global Index.
The country’s average mobile speed was 8.8Mbps and broadband speed was 18.82Mbps. On the other hand, Norway ranked first in the world for mobile internet, with an average download speed of 62Mbps as of November and Singapore led in the fixed broadband category, with a 153Mbps average download speed.
On training astronauts abroad, Sivan said, “No decision has been taken yet. However, preliminary talks with France and Russia have been going on. The basic and initial training will be done at IAF’s Institute of Aerospace Medicine in Bengaluru.”