Low-cost internet services for rural areas developed by women-led startup

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Astrome’s CEO and Director of Engineering receiving IEEE Technology Startup Award 2020

Connecting the remote areas of the country with the others has always been issue considering the cost involved. But not now as Astrome, a women-led startup, has developed an innovative wireless product that gives fibre like bandwidth at fraction of cost of fibre.

This product will greatly help telecom operators deliver reliable low-cost internet services to suburban and rural areas.

Internet connectivity and access to remote places in India has been difficult because laying the fibre is too expensive. Thus there was a requirement for a wireless backhaul products that can deliver low cost, high data capacity, and wide reach. The wireless backhaul products currently available either do not provide sufficient data speeds or the required range or are expensive to deploy.

Giga Mesh (Pic:Courtesy PIB)

Now  a wireless product called Giga Mesh could enable telecom operators deploy quality, high-speed rural telecom infrastructure at five times lower cost. With rural connectivity customers and defence customers already signing up for the pilots, this product will be soon demonstrated by Astrome.

Incubated at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, and supported by DST-ABI Woman Startup Program of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, this deep tech start-up proved their millimeter-wave multi-beam technology in the lab in 2018. For this the company has been granted a patent in India and US.

Following this, the technology has been converted to a powerful and scalable product called Giga Mesh, which can solve much of the last mile connectivity telecom needs of our country. The product has been proven on the field and also integrated with partner products for its upcoming commercialization.

The multi-beam E-band product, Giga Mesh, packs 6 Point-to-Point E-band radios in one, thereby distributing the cost of the device over multiple links and thereby reducing the capital expenditure. The radio provides long-range and multi-Gbps data throughput at each link. Features like automatic link alignment, dynamic power allocation between links, and remote link formation help operators achieve significant operating expenditure cost reduction.

Recalling a weeklong trip organized under the DST-ABI woman startup initiative Dr. Neha Satak, co-founder and CEO at Astrome, said the visit provided her with valuable inputs from the US VC ecosystem to prepare for the launch in the US market.  “Indian Institute of Science played a very critical role by helping us connect with investors, providing business mentorship, and giving us space to conduct our product field trials,” she observed.

Astrome has received the ITU SME Award for the Most Promising Innovative Solution in Connectivity, a major recognition for this product from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). They were also selected by a prestigious 5G accelerator program called Evo Nexus (sponsored by Qualcomm) which will help them launch their product in the global market.

 

 

 

Currently, Astrome is conducting a field trial at Indian Institute of Science (university campus). In this field trial, the company has already achieved data streaming at multi-Gbps speeds across the campus.