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A bird in the sky to ease rural Net connectivity

Source: PTI
November 19, 2008 18:42 IST
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India is developing an 'unconventional' satellite which would focus on providing Internet connectivity to the rural masses and render timely advice on various aspects of agriculture.

It's a fast-track spacecraft for rural connectivity, chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation, G Madhavan Nair, told PTI in Bangalore. 

"You know, if you take the country, even today, more than 30,000 villages don't have proper connectivity. (With) Conventional type of satellites, we cannot meet that requirement", he said.

"So, we have to go for spot beams, high bandwidth type of capacity to be built up. So, that only can make things happen", he said.

Primarily aimed at rural areas, it's an INSAT-class (three tonne) satellite but the speciality would be that instead of having an all-India beam, it would have spot beams covering different parts of the country, and there would be a control hub by which it would be connected to national network.

On the satellite's applications, Nair, also secretary in the department of space, said, "Communication has to be established. Then, agricultural
advices which need to be given to farmers in various aspects...that would be provided through that (the satellite)".

The spacecraft would be launched by European space consortium, Arianespace, within two years, he added.

On the satellite-based navigation system for the civil aviation sector called GAGAN, being implemented by ISRO and the Airports Authority of India, Nair said the first phase has been successfully completed.

"The results are extremely good. We were able to get the accuracies of the order of a few metres, which is sufficient for landing and things like that", he said. 

"Now, (in) the operational phase, we have to establish a number of (reference) stations more. That I think AAI has already submitted a report and the Cabinet has cleared that. . . about Rs 500-crore (Rs 5-billion) investment, and we will be starting the work for that. In about two years, that system should be in place", Nair said.

The space segment of GAGAN is in the form of an electronic device that works on two frequencies and well matched with global positioning system.
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