Indian satellite by IISC Bengaluru based startup, Astrome aims for better internet in India

Amidst all the discussions of the growing smartphone market and increased data usage, there is a huge gap that neither much of the people discuss nor have the ability to fill. Internet as we know it is one of the slowest in the South Asian region. India is at a disadvantageous position, as it is one of the fastest growing major economies in the world but still lags in the internet speeds and reliability. People in the suburban and rural areas suffer from the lack of internet and high population density that slows the data services even further.

In a previous report, it was revealed that the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched GSAT 19 and GSAT 29 before GSAT 11 in the past years. This year, ISRO is planning to launch the last of the 4 satellites called the GSAT 20. Together, these satellites will be playing an important role in providing high-speed internet to the Indian sub-continent. Earlier the SAARC countries tried to come to an agreement that the regional organization will launch an internet-boosting satellite for the whole region but Pakistan opted out of it claiming security reasons. However, India is the most advanced nation in this region and also the largest economy with significant space research prowess. The Indian government has been pro-active in developing the Indian internet infrastructure because it believes that in the modern day and age, the internet will be the foundation stone for a developed nation.

However, it is not just the Indian government aiming for a better India. The Indian technology sector is also aiming for similar results because they too know the importance of high-speed internet. Bengaluru is the IT hub of India. Numerous technology-based startups emerge from this city each year and they also perform really well.

Neha Satak and Prasad Bhat of Indian Institute of Science (IISC) Bengaluru based startup Astrome are developing microsatellites that will orbit around the earth’s lower orbit and send fast, reliable and always available internet to us. They lead an 18-member team to launch 200 microsatellites into the orbit for doing the job. The first satellite will be launched next year and the rest by 2021. The internet services could be used at an individual level, home/office level and even at a small locality level by purchasing the various services. They also claim that the whole project will be cheaper than putting optical fibre cables in rural areas by up to 100 times.

Having said that, one must know that this is not the first time that a company as such is trying something of this sort. This idea has been thought of and started by some of the global technology giants such as Facebook, Google, Boeing and even Elon Musk’s SpaceX. However, all their products had to be abandoned or postponed at some point in time. This startup is not very different but the good point is that it is working with its patented MM wave technology and will be relatively cheaper than the others.

-Soumya De

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