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Jio Platforms to provide satellite broadband services

  • IAS NEXT, Lucknow
  • 17, Feb 2022
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Jio has formed a joint-venture with Luxembourg-based SES to deliver satellite broadband services across India.


The joint venture will use multi-orbit space networks that is a combination of GEO (geostationary equatorial orbit) and MEO (medium earth orbit) satellite constellations capable of delivering multi-gigabit links and capacity to enterprises, mobile backhaul and retail customers across the length and breadth of India and neighbouring regions.

How is this different from what Starlink or OneWeb offer?

SES primarily has satellites in the GEO and the MEO, while those of Elon Musk-led Starlink and Bharti Group’s OneWeb are in low earth orbit (LEO).

  • While GEO satellites are positioned at an altitude of 36,000 km, MEO and LEO are lower at altitudes of 5,000-20,000km and 500-1,200 km,
  • The altitude of the satellite is directly proportional to the area of earth that it covers. Therefore, the higher a satellite is positioned, the larger an area it covers.

Differences between GEO, MEO and LEO satellites:

Coverage: 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.

Cost: LEO satellites are smaller and are cheaper to launch than GEOs or MEOs.

  • But, LEO based satellites have risks, for example the recent Starlink incident. SpaceX’s satellites fell out of orbit as a result of the solar flare.

Criticisms of LEO satellites:

  • The balance of power has shifted from countries to companies since most of these are private companies run projects. As a result, there are questions related to who regulates these companies, especially given the myriad of nations that contribute to individual projects.
  • Complicated regulatory framework: Stakeholders in these companies are from various countries. Thus it becomes challenging to receive requisite licences to operate in each country.
  • Satellites can sometimes be seen in the night skies which creates difficulties for astronomers as the satellites reflect sunlight to earth, leaving streaks across images.
  • Satellites travelling at a lower orbit can also interrupt the frequency of those orbiting above them.
  • Those objects, colloquially referred to as ‘space junk,’ have the potential to damage spacecraft or collide with other satellites.