5 minutes with: Rohit Jha

Rohit Jha is the CEO and Co-Founder of Transcelestial. With his team, he is designing and implementing the next generation of wireless fibre optics

What is Transcelestial’s point of difference as a business?

Communication technology in Singapore, as it is around the world, is dominated by two types of technologies: fibre optic cables and radio waves. While these technologies have helped build our communications infrastructure, there are challenges that remain in providing connectivity for all.

Transcelestial's vision is to improve the connectivity experience for the next billion people. To build on this, we have developed a high-speed (up to 10Gbps) wireless laser communication device. The device we’ve developed, CENTAURI, transmits the lasers through the air instead of through fibre optic cables. This allows for a far more rapid deployment than deploying the standard underground fibre infrastructure.

While the concept of using lasers to power connectivity is not new, there has been a major gap in getting it to the market. Our technology and IP make it possible for industry players everywhere to utilise next-generation lasers, which are the best in class (when compared on a price-to-performance basis). Transcelestial’s technology can be deployed in multiple industry applications including, but not limited to, telecoms, ISPs, large campus environments, ports and maritime.

Can you tell us about your role and responsibilities at Transcelestial?

Transcelestial is an organisation heavily led by its values. We operate as a flat hierarchy and create a space for everyone to contribute. 

That said, as the CEO of a high-growth business, my role is to ensure the long-term health of the company. My responsibilities are mainly to make sure we are focused on the right long-term goals and short-term execution. 

To that aim, I act as the steward and arbiter of senior management, and our chief strategist. This includes ensuring our strategy is eventually reflected in our products and our business, finding the best leaders and bringing them in, creating the best environment to achieve our goals and making sure the business is well capitalised. 

What has been the highlight of your current role (so far)?

Rolling out laser communications has been a huge achievement for us, as the technology is extremely complex. 

Transmitting connectivity through lasers is similar to beaming a laser as thin as a single strand of hair onto a smartphone-sized window, 3km away, while both the laser and the window are moving and are subject to changing weather conditions. 

As it is powered by underlying AI algorithms, our technology can sense and respond to weather conditions, to ensure always-on connectivity, no matter the weather. This means we can provide undisrupted communications channels, even in disaster or crisis zones, which is one of the most exciting applications of this technology.

It’s massively groundbreaking, and I am immensely proud to be the world’s leading company in bringing this technology to the commercial market.

What is your leadership style?

Transcelestial is built on the principle that connectivity is a human right. 

As a result, I work to be an impact-focused leader, empowering my team to see how their work is contributing to solving civilization's long-term communication needs. By cementing this meaning in the core of our company’s work, our team is both inspired and motivated to work on some of the most technically and logistically challenging problems of our generation.

If you hire smart, mission-driven people and empower them with the right goals, they will push the boundaries of what’s possible. Transcelestial’s internal culture is about constantly making the improbable possible, securing technologies and solutions that bring faster, cheaper connectivity to the world. 

Where do you see Transcelestial heading in the next 5 years?

Transcelestial has set out to solve the global distribution challenge in connectivity, using lasercomms. This mainly includes three major segments: last mile/urban connectivity, inter-city connectivity, and undersea cable connectivity. 

Our current first goal is to enhance last mile/urban connectivity. We have extensive deployments of our wireless fibre optics product, CENTAURI, across Asia-Pacific in industries as diverse as defence, education, airports, maritime ports, manufacturing oil and gas, as well as our core markets telecoms and ISPs. Our goal in the next 24-36 months is to go deeper into the APAC market and bring these capabilities to both the Americas and EMEA markets. 

By continuously innovating our product, we intend to radically reduce the cost per bit (of downloaded content) to those in the global population that currently only have sub-par internet access and extend access to the remaining 1-5% of people who are currently unconnected.

We are therefore working under stealth to launch very powerful orbital capabilities, which will allow us to drop lasers as large fibre backbones into cities and towns directly, thereby powering ultra high-speed broadband and dependable 5G to all homes and offices.

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