Application for port-to-port uplinking indicates Star has no plans for India uplink base

NEW DELHI:Star India Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of the Rupert Murdoch-controlled Hong Kong-based Star Group, has applied to the Indian government for permission for a port-to-port uplinking facility through Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd. This is one of the first steps taken by the company preparing for a new life for Star News post-31 March, 2003. 

Confirming the move, government sources told that the application from Star came in recently.

As and when Star India gets the permission, it can uplink to any destination in the world from India using the various VSNL hubs round the country. However, it cannot uplink directly to a satellite bypassing VSNL.

At the moment, it is Prannoy Roy's New Delhi TV (NDTV) that has permission from the government to uplink through VSNL from India for content aired on Star News channel.

Interestingly, sometimes back NDTV is also said to have applied for uplinking permission separately and afresh, an indicator to the fact that the TV software powerhouse too is preparing to launch independent initiatives after March 2003 and, probably, turn into a broadcaster itself.

That Star India has applied for a port-to-port uplinking facility through VSNL is also indicative of the fact that the company does not propose to set up an uplinking base in India in the near future and would continue to use its uplink facility located in Hong Kong, media analysts said.

From Hong Kong, which also houses the headquarters of the broadcaster-turned-multi media company, various Star channels are uplinked to various satellites, including Asiasat-3 whose footprints cover the Indian subcontinent.

At the moment, Indian-promoted channels like Aaj Tak, Eenaadu and Sun do uplink directly to their broadcasting satellites from India from their uplink base. Aaj Tak, for example, Zee Telefilms too, has got permission to uplink some of its channels directly to a satellite from its uplink base located at Noida, on the outskirts of New Delhi. 

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