Doordarshan's DTH plan to cost Rs 6,380 million

NEW DELHI: Information and broadcasting minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today told policy makers that pubcaster Doordarshan was opting for a KU-band DTH scheme at an estimated cost of Rs 6,380 million as terrestrial expansion to cover the whole population would have been much more costly, something that was first reported by indiantelevision.com some days back.

India's pubcaster Doordarshan is setting up a KU Band transmission project at a cost of Rs 6,380 million to cover the remaining 10 per cent of population, which at present is unable to get DD transmission due to the lack of reach of the terrestrial system.

To begin with, the project would have 20 channels uplinked from Delhi. In a years time this is likely to be extended to 60 channels. All the channels would be free to air, according to Prasad, who was briefing the Parliamentary Consultative Committee attached to his ministry about the latest developments in the media.

According to Prasad 200,000 homes in rural, remote, inaccessible mountaineous regions and border areas would be covered by DD by providing cable head ends and set top boxes. He said, the KU band transmission will be the most cost effective option for extending coverage to the uncovered areas.

As compared to Rs 6,380 million on KU band project, the coverage through the terrestrial method would have required capital investment of Rs 34,560 million and recurring expenditure of Rs 5,190 million annually. Doordarshan is hiring 4 satellite transponders for the purpose, he said.

Prasad informed members that apart from the KU band extension, DD is extending coverage to 160 uncovered villages in the eight states of the North-East by establishing cable head ends. The headends are set up by Doordarshan to downlink the TV signals in the village. The cabling from headends to the households is also done by DD.

While DD bears the entire cost, the system is handed over to the local panchayats for its day-to-day running and maintenance with the technical assistance from DD staff. Prasad said the system has been operationalized in 44 villages and the work is nearing completion in another 43 villages. The target is to cover 16,000 households at a cost of Rs 7,150 million.

Those who attended the parliamentray panel meet included Balram Singh Yadav, Abdul Rashid Shaheen, Gandhi Azad, Balkavi Bairagi, Vijay J Darda, Kartar Singh Duggal, Ajay Maroo, Lalhmingliana, Dr Ramanaidu Daggubati and Shabana Azmi.

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