Videocon approaches Isro for six Ku-band transponders to launch DTH

MUMBAI: Videocon is looking initially at six Ku-band transponders for launching its direct-to-home (DTH) service and has approached the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), a source says.

The consumer electronics major is awaiting a DTH licence and can expect to start the service only next year as ahead of the queue are telecom majors Reliance-ADAG (Bluemagic) and Bharti (Bharti Telemedia).

"Videocon has signed a contract with Isro and has asked initially for six Ku-band transponders which can be scaled up later," the source says.

After Insat-4B has gone to Kalanithi Maran‘s Sun Direct, the next Isro satellite providing Ku-band transponders will be up only in September-October. Bluemagic is likely to get Insat-4CR (replacement) and can hope to launch its service earliest by December-January. Reliance has asked for eight Ku-band transponders and Isro is reserving the remaining four for other users like National Informatics Centre.

Bharti‘s DTH launch can get delayed to early 2009 with Insat-4G launching only by 2008-end unless Isro approves of Measat-3, a foreign satellite launched from the Astro Group. Insat-4G has 18 Ku-band transponders but the demand from DTH operators could outstrip supply even at that stage.

Measat has made their Ku-band transponders available and Isro is still studying it technically and making an internal evaluation. "The coordination with Measat is not yet complete but we are at the last leg of it. We will take a decision probably after a month," says Isro contract management and legal services director SB Iyer.

After the launch of Insat-4G, Isro will have exhausted the spectrum. "We have filed an application with the World Administration Radio Conference (WARC), which is part of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), for orbital slot and frequency," says Iyer. WARC determines the allocation of spectrum for various services

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