Satellites

Chandra plans to revive satellite project

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MUMBAI: Subhash Chandra is planning to revive his satellite project. Essel Group owned Agrani Satellite Services Ltd (ASSL) is in negotiations with three companies including Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) for a Ku-band satellite.

"We will be finalising in three months whether we want to acquire or build a satellite. We expect to have the satellite by the third quarter of 2007," said Zee Telefilms Ltd director Punit Goenka.

Isro has sent a proposal to make a satellite for ASC Enterprises with 12 Ku-band transponders. "We are examining their proposal. We are also in talks with two other global satellite providers," said Goenka who is the chief of ASC Enterprises Ltd, the company which holds ASSL, and also the business head of Zee TV.

ASSL plans to invest $40-80 million, depending on the capacity of the satellite it wants to purchase. "The cost of a satellite would be around $4 million per transponder. When we had earlier planned the Agrani satellite, the cost was working out to $7.5 million per transponder," Goenka said.

Agrani Satellite Services Ltd (ASSL) had planned to acquire a geo-stationary satellite from French major Alcatel Space Industries (ASI) for Rs 950 crore. The C and Ku-band satellite was to begin commercial operations by Arianespace. The company, with small stake from Alcatel and Arianespace, would have C and Ku-band transponders to support a broad range of applications ranging from TV broadcasting and DTH to rural and VSAT networks, domestic and international Internet backbone bandwidth as well as direct access and international connectivity.

"We are now looking at only Ku-band transponders. The demand for C-band is slowing down," said Goenka.

The company already has a license for operating Indian satellite systems. Dish TV, the direct-to-home service, will move its channels to the new satellite if Chandra decides to go ahead with the project. Currently, it uses eight Ku-band transponders on the NSS satellite.

ASC Enterprises has, however, shelved its retail convergent products and services. "We had plans of establishing a nationwide chain of stores for retailing these products. But we are not going ahead with this project," Goenka said.

 

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