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Hughes plans long distance telephony

The US-based networking major Hughes Networks plans to roll out the country’s first long distance telephony network based on satellite technology.

The company, which has an extensive Very Small Aperture Terminal network across the country, has applied for a long distance licence. The move from Hughes could give competition to the existing long distance operators including Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, Bharti Tele-Ventures and Reliance Infocomm, which have based its services on a terrestrial network of optic fibre cables laid across thousands of kilometres.

Mr Pranav Roach, President, Hughes Networks System India, said, “We are positioning ourselves to leverage on the growing telecom market in the country. Hughes will be using `fibre in the sky’— satellite bandwidth to connect the areas, which has not been covered by other operators so far.

The company is increasing its share in the Indian joint venture Hughes Escorts Communication Ltd to 74 per cent from 49 per cent at present. It had also recently changed the brand name for its broadband portfolio of services from DIRECWAY to HughesNet.

Mr Roach said satellites offered a cost-effective way of reaching far-flung places and connecting long distance destinations when compared to terrestrial networks. The move to foray into the long distance segment will also allow Hughes to tap the lucrative IP-VPN (Internet Protocol-Virtual Private Network) market.

At present, Hughes through Hughes Escorts Communications Ltd (HECL) is providing turnkey networking solutions to Indian business and government organisations. The services are provided through a KU band and Extended-C band hub in Gurgaon. It also offers broadband satellite-based education and training service for consumers, small businesses and enterprise markets.

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