Isro to boost internet speeds in India with 3 new satellites in 18 months: report

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) plans to usher in an age of high-speed internet in the country with the launch of three new communication satellites. These satellites will use multiple spot beams that will increase internet speed and connectivity, say reports.

India, which became the world's second-largest internet user after China, overtaking the US last year, however, is still behind many Asian countries in terms of internet speed. Isro hopes to change this with the launch of the three satellites in the next 18 months, says a report in The Times of India.

Beginning June, Isro plans to launch the tree satellites – GSAT 19, GSAT 11 and GSAT 20, The Times quoted Isro chairman Kiran Kumar as saying. ''These satellites will use multiple spot beams (a special kind of transponder that operates on a high frequency) that will increase internet speed and connectivity. These multiple spot beams will cover the entire country."

A spot beam is a concentrated signal sent by a high-gain antenna from a satellite, which covers a limited geographic area on earth, but with higher transfer speeds. The narrower the beam, more is the power.

The three satellites will reuse signals (beams) several times over smaller areas. Once operational, these new satellites will be capable of providing high-quality internet, phone and video services, the report quoted Tapan Misra of the Ahmedabad-based Space Application Centre as saying.

"GSAT-11, which is heavier than GSAT-19, will be launched by the year-end and will use 16 beams. It will be able to transfer data at the rate of 13 gigabytes per second. GSAT-20, whose launch is set at the end of 2018, will use 40 beams. Each beam will have two polarisations, which will effectively make them 80 beams. This satellite will have data rate of 60-70 gigabytes/sec," he said.

Isro will also be using its next-generation launch vehicle GSLV MK-III for the heavier satellites. GSLV MK-III is capable of carrying a four-tonne satellite to the geosynchronous transfer orbit.