Satellite broadband is not for everyone who wants to use internet services. Looking at the global services, there’s no doubt that it will be very expensive to consume for an average user. Satellite broadband internet would be able to reach parts of India where the terrestrial networks can’t. But we are not talking about urban cities here. Almost every major city has blanket 4G network coverage provided by Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea, and Reliance Jio. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) primarily has 3G networks in most parts of the country. The point is, people living in urban cities are well covered with terrestrial networks and so there’s no urgent need for a new more expensive connectivity medium in the short or medium term.
For high-speed and stable internet access, users can go for Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) services. There are many private internet service providers (ISPs) in India providing FTTH services. Almost every state either has a regional broadband internet service provider or there is Jio, Airtel, BSNL present.
Satellite broadband internet will come, but it won’t make a lot of noise for an average urban city consumer who has access to the internet at a very affordable cost. Even people living in the rural areas will accept less data with their internet plan overpaying an exorbitant cost for satellite broadband.
Starlink Broadband Pre-Booking a Prime Example
Starlink has been selling the pre-booking to users for $99 or roughly Rs 7,500 in India. Note that this is not even the final cost. This is just for pre-booking. The company has said that it is subsidising the service for Indian users, but it still won’t be very affordable.
Users would also need to purchase monthly plans from the company which is not going to be affordable either. Overall, if you could get a 1 Gbps internet plan for approximately Rs 4,000 from most of the major ISPs in the country, why would you pay lots more for satellite broadband and then also get a lesser speed?
Well, one can always be fancy and get an expensive satellite broadband connection regardless of where he/she is living. But it still won’t be worth the experience because the latency will be higher than what a fiber line connection can give you.
What Role Will Satcom Companies Play Then?
Well, of course, everything is useful if planned correctly. Satcom companies can partner up with the telecom operators to help them expand their network coverage to remote regions in India. Satcom companies can help terrestrial network service providers with reaching out to rural areas faster at much lesser costs.
OneWeb has already announced that it is going to partner with one of the telecom operators in every country it provides services in. In India, it could be Airtel. Starlink is also considering partnering up with Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea (Vi), and more companies to help them expand the reach of their network services.
Satcom companies will play a major role in the rollout of 5G. It will also help majorly in keeping the Internet-of-Things (Io) products connected. Satellite broadband networks will help in keeping the 5G networks less congested at all times.
Of all of the relevant use cases and the costs involved in consuming satellite broadband services, there’s one thing clear — it doesn’t make sense for an average consumer with basic internet needs living in an urban city to pay more for satellite internet. While it will be something new to experience, the costs involved just make it severely unaffordable and uninteresting for a majority of people in the country.