In India, Telesat is testing an LEO broadband prototype

Telesat announced on May 18 that a 4-year-old prototype satellite was used to demonstrate a high-speed connection in India last month. The so-termed Phase 1 satellite was connected via a teleport run by local satellite communications company Nelco, which is owned by Indian conglomerate Tata. Intellian of South Korea provided the parabolic antenna that is 85-centimeter, utilized in the demonstration on April 25-29.

The prototype, according to Telesat, displayed fiber-like 35-millisecond roundtrip latency at rates fast enough to handle video conferencing and streaming applications. The Canadian operator’s Phase 1 satellite was initiated into low-Earth orbit in January 2018 and has been assisting the company in configuring its Lightspeed constellation, which has been delayed.

Following supply chain challenges that delayed the service’s launch back a year to 2026, plans for Lightspeed were lately reduced by a third to about 198 satellites. Lightspeed is expected to cost $5 billion, and Telesat has secured approximately $3.3 billion so far.

According to Goldberg, this is still enough capacity for the Telesat Lightspeed network to supply “something like 10 terabits of capacity” globally, which is more than all current geostationary satellites combined.

Telesat had previously stated that with 298 operating LEO satellites, it would be able to supply 15 terabits of capacity to the government and commercial customers. However, Telesat was forced to reconsider the constellation after the Thales Alenia Space firm informed the company in October that it was experiencing supply chain issues, delaying the service’s launch by a year to 2026.

Despite the downsizing of Telesat Lightspeed, Goldberg anticipates the project to cost $5 billion even as inflation rises. Telesat has so far collected $3.3 billion (4.2 billion Canadian dollars) in funding from established financial resources as well as Canadian government funding, he said.

Telesat’s CEO, Dan Goldberg, claimed on May 6 that the firm is near to securing the final cash it needs to execute an order agreement with Thales Alenia Space to create the satellites.

In September 2020, Telesat announced plans to cooperate with Nelco, as well as other satellite operators have subsequently formed similar partnerships with other local enterprises as the country seeks to loosen protectionist barriers and promote foreign investment. SES announced on February 14 that it has established a joint venture (JV) with Jio Platforms Limited, which is the holding company for India’s largest telecoms operator, to offer multi-orbit link in the nation.

OneWeb, an LEO company located in India, announced a distribution partnership with Hughes Communications India Pvt Ltd, which is a joint venture between Bharti Airtel, Jio’s Indian telecoms rival and Hughes Network Systems. Hughes is a LEO’s minority investor, and Bharti Airtel is a subsidiary of the Bharti Global Indian giant, which is OneWeb’s largest shareholder in the United Kingdom. Late last year, SpaceX’s LEO network Starlink encountered the trouble of India’s telecoms regulator when it received deposits from prospective clients before receiving an operating license in the nation.

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