Digital India: Jio partners with SES to offer affordable satellite-based internet in India

Digital India: Jio partners with SES to offer affordable satellite-based internet in India

Jio-SES sign multi-year capacity purchase agreement under the name 'Jio Space Technology Limited'

In an attempt to provide affordable broadband services across the country, Jio Platforms Ltd entered a joint venture with SES, a global satellite-based connectivity solutions provider on Monday. Notably, this announcement comes at a time when Elon Musk-owned Starlink is grappling to set its foot in the Indian market. A multi-year capacity purchase agreement between Jio and SES will go under the name 'Jio Space Technology Limited', with a partnership ratio of 51:49.

India's own satellite internet

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Reportedly, with a total contract value of $100 million, the venture will benefit from up to 100 Gbps capacity backed by SES, Jio's positioning and sales reach will also help in capturing the market opportunity in India. By using multi-orbit space networks, this venture aims to deliver multi-gigabit links and capacity to enterprises, mobile backhaul and retail customers all across India and its neighbouring regions.

Notably, these networks are a combination of Geostationary Orbit (GEO) and Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellite constellations. While JPL will own 51% of the equity stake in this joint venture, SES will own the rest 49%. In addition, to provide services across the country, the joint venture will establish an extensive gateway infrastructure in India. With the aim to increase access to digital service and applications, it will leverage SES-12, a high-throughput GEO satellite serving India, and 'O3b mPOWER', a next-generation MEO constellation to accompany Jio's terrestrial network.

Currently, the only satellite operator that holds a licence to provide satellite-based connectivity services in India is OneWeb, a UK based satellite firm that is co-owned by Bharti Airtel. With this joint venture, Bharti Airtel plans to launch commercial services in India by May 2022.

Connecting remotest towns to Digitise India: Akash Ambani

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Talking about this new venture, Akash Ambani, the Director of Jio said, "While we continue to expand our fibre-based connectivity and FTTH business and invest in 5G, this new joint venture with SES will further accelerate the growth of multi-gigabit broadband." He further added, "Utilising the additional coverage and capacity provided by satellite communications services, Jio will be able to connect the remotest towns and villages, enterprises, government establishments, and consumers to the new Digital India."

Sharing his thoughts on this collaboration, Steve Collar, the CEO of SES said, "This joint venture with JPL is a great example of how SES can complement even the most extensive terrestrial networks to deliver high-quality connectivity, and positively affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people." Interestingly, the agreement also goes in sync with India's recently announced mGati Shakti: National Master Plan for Multi-modal Connectivity, an initiative that is aimed to offer integrated and seamless connectivity by implementing diverse infrastructure in the country.

-with inputs from IANS.

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