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Sunil Mittal commends PM for inviting pvt sector participation in space industry

With the opening up of the space industry to private sector players, India will be able to achieve big in the space sector and it is reflected as there has been a number of new start-ups jumping in to leverage the opportunity, said satellite telecom service provider company OneWeb’s executive chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal.

Notably, India in June 2020 approved opening up the space sector to private players, aiming at boosting their participation in the entire range of activities.

“I would like to truly recognise the honourable prime minister’s leadership in this space. He saw space right at the beginning of his prime ministership and started to work seriously towards taking the space industry ecosystem, invited private sectors for the first time to participate in the space industry and we all know a number of new startups are taking shape in manufacturing satellites, private launches, user terminals and many things associated with this critical industry are shaping up,” Mittal said.

Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) is constituted as an autonomous agency in the Department of Space (DoS) for enabling space activities, as well as, usage of Department of Space-owned facilities by Non-Governmental Private Entities (NGPEs) and to permit, regulate, promote, hand-hold, monitor and supervise Space Activities of NGPEs in India.

“Prime Minister Modi recognised the moment and directed the entire space ecosystem in India to step up and give two rockets to OneWeb, which I think has been a game changer for us,” Mittal, the telecom tycoon, told media persons in an online interaction after the launch, adding that it was “seminal moment” for India’s space sector.

The Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications firm OneWeb on Sunday launched the satellites on an ISRO LMV3 rocket from the Sriharikota space facility in Andhra Pradesh. With this the total fleet of the in-orbit first-generation constellation of the London-based company has gone up to 618.

OneWeb’s satellites will be used to provide satellite broadband in rural and remote parts and critical installations where it is expensive and difficult to lay fibre cables. The satellite constellation is expected to enable global connectivity solutions by the end of this year.

OneWeb is a global communications network powered by a constellation of 648 low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. Headquartered in London, it enables high-speed, low-latency connectivity for governments, businesses, and communities everywhere around the world.

Low latency describes the efficiency of processing a very high volume of data messages with a minimal delay.

“India’s space budget is about Rs 13,000 crore, and I think India has the potential to go up to significantly (to) higher numbers. And therefore I recognise this moment for the Indian space industry today,” Mittal asserted.

In response to reporters’ questions on whether he sees disruption in the space sector and what is the competition like and whether he intends to heavily leverage in this new area, Mittal said “Our focus remains very significantly on the communication, an area which we understand very well. There are lots of very ambitious and creative (space sector) entrepreneurs looking at colonising the Moon and Mars.”

He said his focus is on broadband connectivity and connecting the unconnected with high-speed telecom services.

Further, he was asked what has been done to allay external and internal security threats and to ensure only legitimate users are accessing it, he said, “We have very high levels of security interventions.”

“They (government agencies) will have full control over it. You are the customer, no need to worry it’s a fully encrypted communication and there will never be an issue. But the government will have full access, should they want, like any other communication medium to intercept they like to do.”

In follow-up, he was asked how the service provider will vet the customers in order to check only the legitimate users are using the service.

“KYC in the mobile industry is a norm. When you sell a terminal to someone, that person’s KYC – is Aadhaar. We will exactly do like a mobile customer is done,” he explained.

Further, to a query on what will be the range of its terminal as compared with the router, he, without giving any figure, said it will be completely widespread and will easily cover an entire village. The Print

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