As with so many things, COVID presented a unique challenge to Viasat’s Antenna Systems division and its push to fulfill orders for customers in India. Despite that, Viasat was able to deliver and install 22 new Ka-band gateways over a 30-month period, helping India with its ongoing commitment to connect people in underserved areas of the country.
The 9.1-meter antennas are used in three different programs with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), operating on GSAT-11, GSAT-20, and GSAT-29 satellites. Viasat’s customer is Larsen & Toubro (L&T), the prime system integrator for the programs, and the ISRO procured the equipment for the Indian Government Telecom Service (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, or BSNL).
L&T is an Indian multinational conglomerate company engaged in engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) projects, high-tech manufacturing and services. It operates in over 50 countries worldwide. A strong, customer–focused approach and the constant quest for top-class quality have enabled L&T to attain and sustain leadership in its major lines of business for eight decades.
ISRO operates one of the largest satellite networks in the world. Viasat’s expertise in Ka-band equipment made it a natural fit for these programs operating on that frequency.
“It really showed our capabilities to meet tight deadlines, even in adverse conditions, to help ensure customer programs weren’t delayed,” said T. Dileep with Satcom Technologies — Viasat’s representative for antenna systems. “We expect to see more demand for these antennas in the near future.”
Ashit Tailor, international business development and sales representative for Viasat antenna systems in India, said it’s all in support of the goal of digitizing India.
“The primary purpose of GSAT satellites is to provide internet connectivity to underserved areas,” he said, adding that a new government enterprise called Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) was created to deploy the necessary infrastructure for this mission.
The antennas were built at Viasat’s facility in Duluth, GA. Once in India, the company worked with a local team to install the equipment.
“Local support is very important for our Indian customers,” said Tailor. “It’s easier for them to get field support during their own business hours. Plus, it supports the government’s initiatives of a self-reliant India, where skills development and job creation are of great importance.”
Satcom as a Service
Ultimately, Tailor said, the benefits of an expanded network will fall to the end-users the Indian government is trying to reach. Viasat is excited to be playing a part in enabling this by providing the gateway antennas, and looks forward to additional opportunities for continued and growing participation.
“The Indian government’s unprecedented initiative to bring high-speed connectivity to rural India is being realized in part through our antennas,” he said, adding that over its decades-long presence in India, the company has successfully delivered many antennas systems to the government.
“The ones we put in place for the three GSAT satellites are a perfect illustration of our commitment to India,” he said. “It’s not just about delivering state-of-the-art equipment but doing it on schedule and taking full advantage of resources already in the country. That not only creates jobs but also ensures support is available in the local time-zone.”
Dileep pointed to Viasat’s recent delivery as a strong example of what other customers in the private sector may expect in the future.
“I think Viasat has shown they can get the job done,” he said. “That should tell other potential customers that they can trust Viasat to deliver. We want to be the supplier of choice for anything involving antennas in the country.”