Jio enters satellite broadband market in India - Forms JV with SES

SES and Jio have entered into a JV
(Image credit: Broadcast & Cablesat)

Satellite broadband is likely to be where the next action is going to be in India. Elon Musk is trying bring his much-touted Starlink service to India. But it is beset with problems. Bharti, the parent company of Airtel, along with Hughes Communications, is working on a plan to distribute satellite internet services in the country.   

And today, Jio Platforms, the digital arm of Reliance Industries, and Luxembourg’s SES, a well-known satellite-based content connectivity solutions provider, have announced a 51:49 joint venture, Jio Space Technology Ltd, to deliver next-generation broadband services in India, leveraging satellite technology.

The joint venture will use multi-orbit space networks that is a combination of geostationary (GEO) and medium earth orbit (MEO) satellite constellations. Bharti, for the record, will use OneWeb's satellites for delivering its broadband service.

Will connect remote places in the country

"The joint venture will be the vehicle for providing SES’s satellite data and connectivity services in India, except for certain international aeronautical and maritime customers who may be served by SES," a press release from Jio said. It will have availability of up to 100 Gbps capacity from SES and will use Jio’s marketing strengths in India to make headway here. The JV is expected to develop extensive gateway infrastructure in India to provide services within the country. 

Jio, as an anchor customer of the joint venture, has entered into a multi-year capacity purchase agreement, based on certain milestones along with gateways and equipment purchase with total contract value of around $100 million, the press statement added.

The joint venture will leverage SES satellites ---  it has over 70 satellites in two different orbits --- and ground infrastructure and complement Jio’s terrestrial network. Jio will offer managed services and gateway infrastructure operations services to the joint venture.

"This joint venture will be a catalyst for connecting the unconnected areas within India and the region to the full range of digital services, offering access to remote health, government services, and distance learning opportunities," the company said.

Akash Ambani, 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 multigigabit broadband. With additional coverage and capacity offered 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."

For the record, SES operates multi-orbit constellation of satellites, including the low-latency Medium Earth Orbit O3b system. OneWeb, on the other hand, uses low earth orbit (LEO) satellites.

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Balakumar K
Senior Editor

Over three decades as a journalist covering current affairs, politics, sports and now technology. Former Editor of News Today, writer of humour columns across publications and a hardcore cricket and cinema enthusiast. He writes about technology trends and suggest movies and shows to watch on OTT platforms.