Satellite Internet

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    In Context

    • Reliance Jio has teamed up with SES, a global satellite provider, to launch Satellite broadband services in India.

    About

    • Satellite Broadband will account for 50 per cent of the global space economy by 2040, Morgan Stanley Report.
    • Other Similar Projects in the race: Bharti Airtel Ltd’s OneWeb, Starlink Network project of Elon Musk.
    • Currently, fibre optic cables or wireless networks through mobile towers provide internet services.
    • JV will use multi-orbit space networks, a combination of GEO (geostationary equatorial orbit) and MEO (medium earth orbit) satellite constellations.

    What is Satellite Broadband?

    • The technology beams the internet down from a satellite that’s orbiting the Earth.
    • It typically communicates with the satellites either in geostationary orbit or Lower Earth Orbit.
    • Aim: To provide space internet services at a low cost to every inaccessible terrain.
    • GEO and LEO satellites are considered to be the two extremes in satellite communications. 
    • Advantages and disadvantages of GEO, MEO and LEO:
      • GEO satellites provide a larger coverage and therefore only three satellites can cover the whole earth, hundreds of LEO satellites are needed to provide coverage to a larger area. 
      • LEO satellites are smaller and are cheaper to launch than GEOs or MEOs.

    Advantages

    • Bring seamless connectivity where fibre connections just can’t reach (hills and remote islands).
    • Bridge the digital divide gap in the country & help in India’s Digital India mission.
    • Helps in effective navigation and military surveillance
    • Effective service delivery & less dependence on infrastructure creation
    • Less Latency & easy access
    • New economic avenues  

    Downsides

    • An increase in Space debris & risk of collisions of satellites (Kesseler Syndrome)
    • Infrastructure access & digital illiteracy
    • High initial cost
    • Possibility of space warfare, might causes disruptions

    Source: IE