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January 30, 1998


VSNL may tie up with Inelsat for DTH service

Email this story to a friend. The state-owned international telecom carrier, Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited, has unveiled ambitious plans to enter the direct-to-home television and data services business in collaboration with the global satellite consortium, Intelsat.

The country's external telecommunications monopoly will lease space on Intelsat's upcoming KU-band satellite - K-TV - and market it to Indian television channels, software exporters and Internet services providers.

Fat and mean
The Infosys ADR
VSNL's DTH plans
A Netaji site
Uplinking from VSNL's six earth nodes across the country, the channels will be hooked up to Intelsat's K-TV satellite and beamed to target countries.

The K-TV satellite is to be launched between the end of 1998 and the beginning 1999. And VSNL expects to generate business worth Rs 2 billion per year.

VSNL's plans on the DTH project were revealed at a closed-door business presentation in New Delhi recently. The presentation was organised by Intelsat to generate Indian interest in its DTH satellite services.

VSNL executives say the corporation may also provide connectivity on six other satellites including India's own INSAT series.

VSNL's earth node network is being augmented with the addition of five more nodes to the existing six within the next two years. The new locations would be Jalandhar, Kanpur, Ernakulum, Bangalore, New Delhi and Kanpur. The existing nodes are at Dehradun, Bombay, Bangalore, Madras, Hyderabad and Calcutta.

The executives said VSNL would open transponder bookings shortly on behalf of Indian clients after it signs a contract agreement with Intelsat, expected in the next quarter.

The expected rates are Rs 8,300 for the first 10 minutes and Rs 330 for each additional minute. Indian broadcasters and data communicators will be at an advantage as they would be able to pay in Indian rupees as opposed to the foreign exchange they have to dish out at present to hire foreign satellite transponders.

VSNL's monopoly over external communication for voice and data till 2004 would give it unhindered market access and continuity of services, which would not be possible with any other operators.

With VSNL's proposed DTH offering, operators will enjoy both satellite platform as well as uplinking facilities from a single operator.

In the case of analogue transmissions, at present, uplinking stations and satellite providers are different. This means the broadcaster has to co-ordinate with two parties for one service.

VSNL is also considering setting up uplinking facilities at the customer's facilities if the requirement is large enough to support a dedicated uplinking platform like for a 24-hour news or entertainment channel.

VSNL will commit continuity of service in the case of DTH services; that is, it will source transponders from various satellites if one satellite malfunctions.

Broadcasters will not have to organise this on their own.

Intelsat's K-TV satellite enables reception of TV and data with dishes as small as 45 centimetres in diameter, thanks to the high-power KU-band transponders aboard the satellite. It will offer digitally compressed TV programmes of up to seven on each transponder.

Besides TV broadcast, VSNL is aiming at telebanking, telebooking, telecommuting, pay-per-view and video-on-demand business from the K-TV satellite. Though it is possible to uplink from home to the K-TV satellite, this service will not be immediately available due to government regulations. Only recognised operators will be allowed to uplink.

- Compiled from the Indian media

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