While Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are planning to bring satellite-based internet connectivity to the Indian market by launching their satellites through Indian soil, it seems that India-based Bharti Group will soon beat the two world’s richest men in this race.
Citing the words from Bharti Enterprises chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal, the company’s subsidiary OneWeb will be the first private player to launch satellites from Indian soil through ISRO facilities. The chairman was recently speaking at the launch of space and satellite companies body Indian Space Association, and he further stated that his company is planning to begin the roll-out of providing connectivity in the country through OneWeb satellite from mid-2022.
OneWeb is the company’s subsidiary which was recently saved from going bankrupt due to the economic toll which was brought by on the company due to the pandemic. “OneWeb will be the first customer which starts to bring a commercial position into the Indian space market,” Mittal said.
He also stated that OneWeb will be using ISRO’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III rockets for the launch of satellites from Indian soil. Currently, OneWeb has 322 satellites in space and Mittal stated that many of the large countries have rapidly made strides in the space sector, and matching them is not possible without the government’s support. He expects to make India a space superpower with the support of the Indian government.
“With this new initiative that we have taken, I am sure more and more international customers will come to the doorstep of ISRO and NSIL (NewSpace India Ltd). We have a great future ahead. The Prime Minister is showing us the way. It’s time for the industry to respond.”