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As the world’s largest democracy and one of its fastest-growing economies, India has made a major commitment to the financial inclusion and education of its citizens. One of India’s greatest challenges is its geography, which, between teeming cities and majestic mountains, includes great swaths of rural and remote landscape that lacks terrestrial networking infrastructure. Fortunately, satellite broadband is helping to bridge this digital divide.
The goal of the Reserve Bank of India is that every village with a population exceeding 2,000 be served by a bank branch or through a business correspondent, or agent. As a result, public sector and private banks are setting up branches, ATMs, and retail kiosks, including fixed and mobile/transportable solutions—all of which require broadband connectivity.
High reliability, availability, and security are critical for banking applications, and as a major provider to the banking sector, Hughes Communications India Ltd. (HCIL) today powers over 20,000 branches and more than 30,000 ATMs that annually process 1.5 billion ATM transactions and 170 million credit card transactions.
For example, HCIL recently announced a contract to connect 27,000 offsite ATMs with a secure broadband satellite network and provide managed network services for public sector banks. The contract is part of one of the largest outsourcing deals in the financial sector, under which the Ministry of Finance and a consortium of public sector banks have contracted with nine managed services providers to install and manage 63,000 ATMs across urban and rural India.
With 63 ATMs per million residents, India has a per capita ATM penetration of only one for every 15,000 people, far lower than developed markets such as the United States and the European Union, or neighboring China with one ATM for every 2,000 people. This initiative is expected to increase the Indian ATM density by over 60 percent, helping to meet the goals of financial inclusion and delivery of e-Government services directly to citizens.
In addition, C-Edge, a joint venture of TATA Consultancy Services and the State Bank of India, selected Hughes to provide over 3,500 branches of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) with a broadband satellite network and managed services. Other key customer banks include State Bank of India, Allahabad Bank, and Central Bank of India.
Meanwhile, with a population of 560 million under the age of 25, and 225 million between the ages of 10 and 19, India considers education a top priority. HCIL helps connect the Edusat network, a government-based project that spans 14 states and is funded by the Indian Space Research Organisation and the Ministry of Human Resource Development. As part of this project, each state has set up a hub that connects to state-run schools and colleges, which are growing at the rate of 4,000 to 5,000 sites per year.
HCIL was also contracted by the government of Punjab to supply and operate a comprehensive, satellite-based Edusat network to deliver quality education content to students in 2,960 educational institutions throughout the state. Industry is also addressing the critical need for skilled manpower. For example, HCIL is providing Maruti Suzuki, Ltd. with a digital training academy incorporating satellite broadband technology to provide live training across its distribution chain, including factories, offices, and dealer outlets. At the same time, many distance learning classes are available in semi-urban centers throughout the country via satellite-powered HughesNet® Fusion Kiosks.
HCIL recently passed the 65,000 milestone of sites on its nationwide service, representing a 40 percent share as the leader of the Indian broadband satellite market in 2012. Among many honors in 2012, the company won the “Best Innovative Product: Broadband” award from the Economic Times Telecom Awards 2012, and is proud to play a key role in India’s financial and educational growth.