The Indian Space Association, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 11, should not be seen from the lens of an association just for exploring space-based communication, P J Nath, managing director and chief executive officer of Tata Group-owned Nelco said.
“If you look at all the founding members, we are heavily invested in space technology. We are satellite service provider, OneWeb is a satellite operator and so on. The objective of this space association is that it is an industry body which will represent the entire sector. It is not only satellite operators and satellite service providers. It could be manufacturers, R&D (research and development) players, launch vehicles coming in,” Nath told The Indian Express.
The Indian Space Association, which was formally launched last week, counts among its members government bodies such as Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and private telecom companies such as Bharti Airtel’s One Web, Tata Group’s Nelco, L&T, MapMyIndia, and others.
The need for such an association was needed because there was no unified body as a whole, Nath said, adding that an industry body would help in the overall development of the sector.
“We can carry the voice of the industry body to the government, to the regulator. When you go as as individual company, a lot of times you have your own personal agenda and so many others. You do not get taken that seriously by the government,” Nath said.
Companies such as Bharti Airtel, OneWeb, and Nelco, which are among the founding members of the organisation and are also either in the business-to-consumer or business-to-business communications domain, can also make use of the association to further explore and ensure internet connectivity reaches remote areas.
“The good thing about satellite is that the quality of service is the same, whether you give it in Delhi, Mumbai or Arunachal or deep-sea. On a like-to-like basis, fibre has no comparison with satellite internet. Once the neo-satellites come, we will have to see about the price-points, the kind of service and offering for consumers,” Nath said.
In India, the space-based communications network has taken off with several Indian and international companies betting on it as the next frontier to provide high-speed and affordable Internet connectivity to inaccessible areas as well. This includes SpaceX’s StarLink, Sunil Bharti Mittal’s OneWeb, Amazon’s Project Kuiper, US satellite maker Hughes Communications, etc.