Shivaji Chatterjee, senior vice-president, Hughes Communications India

Hughes Communications India has been operating for over 25 years now. The company has evolved with the changing telecom landscape and has been the frontrunner in the satellite enterprise connectivity space. Shivaji Chatterjee, senior vice-president, Hughes Communications India, talks about the growing enterprise connectivity needs and the company’s future plans…

How is the ongoing Covid-19 crisis impacting the Indian enterprise connectivity landscape? What role is Hughes Communications India playing to address this?

The Covid-19 pandemic has induced a significant change in the way an enterprise functions. Most enterprises have asked their employees to work from home while others are making efforts to upgrade their digital infrastructure to meet the critical business needs. Work from home (WFH) modules and contactless operations have triggered the widespread use of collaborative platforms leading to a significant upsurge in demand for network connectivity. Besides, Covid-19 has forced enterprises to rethink their priorities for future budgetary allocations. More enterprises today are looking to make planned investments in unified communication and collaboration tools, better network management, and data centre networking.

Hughes has always been at the forefront in addressing the critical network connectivity requirements. With a rapid surge in demand, the enterprise segment utilising the terrestrial network has been faced with challenges. But, with our inherent strengths and ubiquitous presence of satellite and enterprise 4G, we are fundamentally strong and well placed to serve the unique needs of enterprises.

How are you dealing with the shift in bandwidth demands across verticals/regions?

Areas that are usually serviced by satcom are mostly in rural, remote locations.  In the overall distribution, Hughes enterprise services gets a substantial share of service requirements from the government, telecom, banking  and other essential services.

To ensure we can promptly address the demand in specific segments, we are continuously analysing the capacity utilisation trends and making use of available capacity by reallocating the bandwidth to customers on the basis of need. Besides, we are providing network support to telecom operators towards ensuring uninterrupted connectivity across rural and remote villages, and along strategic border locations in the country.

How is Hughes Communications enabling satellite bandwidth for aiding SME operations across far regions including the Northeast and Jammu & Kashmir?

We have been providing satellite broadband services to small and medium enterprises (SME) for more than 15 years now through our nationwide network of partners. Hughes can provide services even to single SME units in far off locations and is not dependent on multiple units or clusters  – a limitation faced by other terrestrial broadband service providers.

These services are more relevant now considering the increased IT automation among the SMEs and the overall vision of the government. We have customers across multiple segments viz manufacturing, SCADA, solar and wind power, remote government offices, hydro electric project sites, road construction project sites, army units, etc. Our customer base is predominantly in north-eastern states, Jammu and Kashmir, Leh/Ladakh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Rajasthan.

With rising competition and the growing share of opportunities created by online commerce, reliable business-grade broadband is an extremely vital ingredient for a range of small businesses. An increasing number of small businesses operating across these regions have realised the value and are opting for VSAT as it is more easily accessible and ensures  high availability and reliability.

What are the key challenges faced by your organisation?

One of the most significant challenges has always been to keep pace with the rapid transformation happening globally in the satellite space segment, especially with HTS satellites and non-GEO constellations. We are consistently looking to push the boundaries to deliver innovations in hardware and services that stretch across the segment.

What will be the company’s growth plans and strategies for the next few years?

We are  focused on addressing the unique connectivity requirements of both individuals and businesses. With the pandemic, there has been a significant growth in demand for our products, services, and solutions. We are very excited about what the future holds – with our business expanding in multiple directions.  We have adopted a managed services and system integration approach, combining the best of enterprise satellite, wireless, and terrestrial technologies to offer unique, differentiated solutions to enterprises and to the government in our country.  Moving forward, our aim will be to deliver the consumer broadband segment over satellite- just like DTH brought satellite via television to the mass consumer market in India.