Thaicom, VSNL in joint broadcasting platform deal

NONTHABURI (Thailand): Recently privatised international telecommunication operator Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) and Thailand's Shin Satellite have signed a contract to provide premium satellite television transmission services to the Indian market.

VSNL plans to transmit more than 30 television channels on Thaicom and will jointly uplink satellite TV transmissions using VSNL's uplink facilities in Mumbai and Delhi using Shin Satellite's Thaicom 3 satellite, an official release says. The satellite, widely acknowledged as a "hotbird" in India due to the vast number of satellite dishes currently pointed at it, will act as a platform to provide a plethora of services for the Indian market. This arrangement is in line with the India government's plans to make mandatory the uplinking of Indian indigenous channels from Indian soil, the release says.

Shin Satellite and VSNL plan to support each other by taking advantage of their current strengths in the highly competitive Indian market. VSNL has one of the biggest operations base in India while Shin Satellite has the largest customer base of any foreign satellite in the country and is able to offer a highly effective and competitive service.

Shin Satellite now serves over 30 independent Indian television channels and 10 major Internet service providers. It is the major provider of satellite capacity to the government of India through contracts with the Department of Space. According to the release, the partnership with VSNL is a strategic move for Shin Satellite as it plans to expand services dramatically over the next few years.

For iPSTAR, meanwhile, VSNL is slated to work with Shin Satellite in the operation of an iPSTAR gateway to provide broadband Internet services.

Yongsit Rojsrivichaikul, vice-president of Shin Satellite was quoted in the release as saying: "We are honoured to have VSNL as our partner in India. The Indian market has tremendous potential and we also have large existing customer base, therefore, we require a capable and credible partner, contributing local expertise and business strengths. By cooperating with VSNL, we are confident that we can further expand our business substantially and strengthen our market position in India."

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