Electronics and chip manufacturer Qualcomm’s plan to increase connectivity in rural parts of the country via satellite communication was discussed with policymakers on Monday, when the company’s executive chairman Paul Jacobs met Minister of Communications Manoj Sinha and Minister of Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad in separate meetings.
Qualcomm has invested in a satellite company OneWeb, which is building 700 satellites that are expected to be launched by 2019-20, Jacobs told reporters after meeting Sinha, and added:
“It will provide mobile broadband to most remote areas of the country and will have connectivity from a terminal on the ground, up through sky into the rest of the network”.
Jacobs said that while OneWeb had raised $500 million from a number of companies such as Virgin, Airbus Group, Intelsat, etc, the company is in the middle of second round of fund-raising, and that the bill of building the technology could run over $1 billion.
Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Enterprises also acquired a minority stake in OneWeb in June 2015 during the company’s first round of fund-raising.
“It will have cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity so people will be able to use phones and tablets to get access to internet to get connectivity that way. We want to do that with schools for education purposes, with hospitals, put them in rural communities to give connectivity,” Jacobs said.
He also said that the company expected development of mobile ecosystem in the country not just in assembling but also designing and manufacturing of devices.
The IT minister said that he asked Jacobs to deploy Qualcomm’s resources to ensure digital content in Indian languages.