Bharti plans ground stations in India for OneWeb satellite signals

Bharti Enterprises hopes to set up a few ground stations in India to receive signals from the 648-satellite constellation owned by UK-based OneWeb and start offering its services in India, Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said on Thursday.

Speaking at the webinar on ‘Unlocking India’s potential in Space Sector’, he noted OneWeb with 648 satellites in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) plans to start its services in India in early 2022.

Bharti has to get the landing rights for its signals, set up ground stations in the north, south and western parts of the country to start offering the services in early 2022.

Mittal also sought the Indian Space Research Organisation’s support to develop user terminals to cater to Indian needs, adding that the country needs affordable broadband connectivity in rural areas.

According to him, areas in India have been earmarked for offering OneWeb satellite services.

In July this year, the UK government and Bharti Global Ltd won the bid to acquire OneWeb.

Mittal said that one of the advantages of the LEO constellation is its low latency as compared to the constellation of geostationary satellites, and the services are being tested with some BMW cars.

Seeking a strong rapport with the ISRO, he said that the satellites in geostationary orbit and OneWeb’s LEO constellation can be put to use together.

On the initiatives to be taken as a part of reforms in the Indian space sector, he said the policies should be “light touch” and clear for the private players to understand.