Television

Zee to use 7 transponders on Insat

NEW DELHI: The Subhash Chandra-promoted Zee Telefilms Ltd will use three C-band transponders and four KU-band transponders on Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro)'s Insat satellites for its proposed head-end in the sky, or HITS, project and direct-to-home television venture, respectively.

According to a senior Zee executive, the three transponders on Insat 3A, recently put into geo-stationary orbit, would be used for the HITS project, while negotiations are on for KU-band transponders for the DTH project that is slated to get off the ground later this year.

Isro at its headquarters in Bangalore had said on Sunday the organisation is finalising allocations of transponders on Insat-3A among private broadcasters.

"That we would beam the DTH service from Insat satellite is definite. The thing that is being finalised is on which Insat satellite would we be given the KU-band transponders. It can be also Insat 3A," the Zee executive said.

Though the Zee executive was not forthcoming on the issue whether the company has been directed by the Indian government to use Insat satellite, government sources did give indications on these lines.

"The government would always like private broadcasters, desirous of operating in India, give preference to Insat satellites for transponder usage," a senior government official told indiantelevision.com.

Meanwhile, Isro chairman K. Kasturirangan told presspersons on Sunday that the multipurpose Insat 3A satellite, launched on 10 April 10, would be declared operational by the end of May.

The transponders being hawked to private broadcasters include four in the Ku band for DTH purposes and three in the C band for HITS operators under the conditional access system.

Agreements are to be signed shortly for these, according to Isro joint secretary SK Das. India's pubcaster Doordarshan and the department of telecom have been its main customers until recently.

Isro hopes to wean away all or some of the 70 private broadcasting channels and users from foreign satellites with competitive pricing in the coming years.

Kasturirangan had said these channels would offer a potential business of $120 million. The Insat system's transponder capacity was being augmented and stood at 120 after the launch of Insat 3A. Allocations on 3A and the forthcoming satellite, 3E, around June-July should bring these users into Insat fold, Kasturirangan said.

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