Agrani satellite transponders to be used for DTH platform

After Star, it is the turn of the Subhash Chandra-controlled Essel Group promoted ASC Enterprises Limited (ASCEL) to apply for a DTH license.

Agrani Satellite Services Limited (an ASC Enterprise) has signed a turnkey satellite contract for India's first private sector satellite initiative, thus agreeing to procure a geostationary, C & Ku band satellite from Alcatel Space Industries of France. The deal involves 'in-orbit delivery' of the satellite and a ground control station by Alcatel and Arianespace will provide the Launch Services. The project is estimated to cost Rs11 billion.

According to the information available, seven to 10 transponders on the satellite will be used for the DTH platform, while the remaining will be used for telecom purposes. There is no clear word though when the company proposes to launch the DTH platform. This will depend in large measure.

The high power KU band spot beam of the proposed Agrani satellite is ideally suited for Direct to Home signals, as well as to provide domestic bandwidth to various Telecom and Internet Service Providers, analysts said. 

The power of the Ku band transponder(s) on the proposed Agrani satellite is designed to take care of heavy rainfall in costal and hilly areas of the country.

"The project will save foreign exchange out flow, enable TV channels to be up-linked from Indian soil using Indian Satellite system," a senior executive of an Indian-controlled broadcasting company opined.

ASSL is the first Indian private satellite system to be authorised by the Government of India under May 2000 SatCom policy framework. The Government has also approved the equity participation of Alcatel and Arianespace in ASSL.

Government of India's Satcom policy announced in May 2000 and operationalised in November 2000 allows private Indian companies to launch, own, operate and maintain private satellite systems as Indian registered satellite.

The policy also allows preference treatment to the Indian registered satellite (including the INSAT Satellites which have also been allowed to be used by Private Indian Companies); if suitable capacity is available on INSAT or Private Indian Satellite Systems, the service provision of any kind on the Foreign Satellite will not be permitted. Currently India uses more than 80 transponders on different foreign satellites.

Other than INSAT, ASSL will be the only satellite system to offer C-band capacity on an India-only coverage beam. Other Asian satellites have Asia-coverage beams that result in lower downlink power levels in India.

ASSL's Ku-band capacity offering features a high downlink power in India compared to the best available in the region, and a unique India-Europe connectivity that is suitable for Internet backbone access. ASSL also has the ability to offer turnkey bundled solutions and technical consulting services for India-specific requirements.

The Agrani transponders will support a broad range of applications ranging from TV broadcasting and DTH to rural and remote area communications, providing telecom media diversity along critical long distance routes to improve resilience against natural or man made disasters, private and public VSAT networks, domestic and international Internet backbone bandwidth as well as direct access and international connectivity among others. 

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