New Delhi/Bangalore: An advocacy group of the cable and satellite industry has urged the ministry of communications to review its proposal for reallocating the frequency used by satellite bandwidth users in the country to the emerging terrestrial wireless broadband WiMax service providers.
The department of telecommunications last month recommended that broadcasters such as TV Today and Sun TV, which use the C-band transponders in the 3.4–3.7 giga hertz bandwidth on Indian communication satellites, should vacate in favour of the new WiMax technology. On 3 February, Mint had reported that the broadcasters had termed the six-week deadline given by DoT to shift to another frequency as tight, but said there would be no operational or financial implications.
“Our concern is that reallocation to WiMax will directly interfere with the C-Band signals because of the high-power level of the new technology, as a result of which, scores of satellite services used by Indian and international satellite operators as well as TV channels across India could be wiped out,” said David Ball,chairman of satellite industry committee of the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia. With players such as Reliance Communications and Bharti Airtel all set to join Tata Sky and Dish TV with direct-to-home (DTH) services, an anticipated satellite capacity crunch has led to much debate in the industry.
The association estimates there is no immediate shortage of the C-band in India, though capacity in the Ku band—above 12 giga hertz—is scarce. In 2007, while the demand for Ku transponders will be 65, only 27.5 will be available and this gap will further increase in 2012, when the demand will be for 102 transponders, and only 76 transponders will be available.
C-band transponders are used by broadcasters to beam programmes over a long range, while Ku-band transponders are used for subscription-based telecast by DTH satellite television broadcasters.
“The demand for satellite in India far exceeds the supply and the number of transponders needed in India far exceed the number Isro (Indian Space Research Organization) can supply,” Ball said.
“If there is transponder space on the Insat satellites, we will allocate them to the service provider. Otherwise, we will lease transponder capacity from foreign satellites and allocate it. There is no change in the position," Isro spokesman S. Krishnamurthy said in Bangalore.
According to ISRO, there are 47 extended C-band transponders on seven INSAT communication satellites in service, including six transponders on Edusat, the satellite dedicated to disseminate content between universities and educational institutions.