India satellite. Picture source: ISRO

The Indian government has launched the country’s heaviest satellite on a French rocket to help boost broadband internet services.

Weighing about 5,854kg (12,906lb), the GSAT-11 is India’s “most-advanced” multi-band communication satellite.

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The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched the satellite from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana early on Wednesday morning.

It will be placed in a geostationary orbit by the end of this month and its transponders will be switched on.

ISRO chief K Sivan told reporters that the satellite will “play a vital role in providing broadband services across the country”.

Scientists say it will provide internet access to “off-grid” remote areas in India – hills and islands, for example – where traditional fixed-line broadband services are not available and would be helpful during emergencies and disaster relief.

They added that it will also help provide internet connectivity during air travel in India.

India hired a French rocket to carry the satellite, which is expected to have a life span of 15 years, because it does not have a rocket to carry such a heavy payload.