The Dedicated Satellite
Telecom sector to get dedicated satellite
The Telecom Commission has approved the department of telecom (DoT) proposal to have an independent, dedicated satellite for telecom services. The project, which is estimated, to cost about $500 million is likely to the awarded to Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro). The Telecom Commission (TC) has now asked DoT to work out the finer details of developing the satellite.
The TEC approval came after the DoT had submitted the recommendations of its internal committee, which had said that having a custom-built satellite was a better option against leasing of transponders or launching an independent satellite.
At present, the DoT books transponder slots on multi-purpose satellites to cater the communication demands of telcos. However, this methodology has often not been able to meet the requirements of the sector. "The need for DoT to go for an independent telecom satellite was deliberated at length. Thereafter, the proposal was approved to initiate further discussions and find out detailed modalities," notes the minutes of the recent TC meet.
The launch will, however, take about 24 months because the DoT will first have to work out the modalities, after which the Isro will take 12-24 months to build the satellite. ET had first reported that the DoT was considering a dedicated satellite for telecom services.
Sources said that the DoT was looking at developing a multi-brand 24 transponder satellite, which would have a mix of C, Ku and Ka band transponders. The satellite will largely cater to public sector company BSNL, which has been entrusted with the task of executing most of the government's rural programmes.
At the same time, the DoT will also extend these facilities to public sector company MTNL and private operators. Currently, private operators lease transponder space from foreign satellites. Most operators in India have a heavy requirement for satellite bandwidth, especially as a backup to link their rural networks.
The DoT's internal committee has also pointed out that using satellite services was more cost-effective compared to terrestrial technologies. This is because, with satellites there is no additional costs for addressing each new user once the point-to-multipoint applications system is operational.