The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has initiated a Request for Proposal (RFP) to obtain responses from interested foreign satellite operators for leasing satellites with transponders working in Ku and C-band frequencies.
ISRO’s move comes in the wake of acute Ku-band transponder shortage that the Indian DTH industry faces as they seek to add channels and offer high-definition (HD) services on their platform.
Market leader Dish TV said early this year that it will be utilising four 54 MHz Ku-band transponders on AsiaSat 5 to enhance its HD and SD offerings. The additional transponder capacity on AsiaSat 5 will enable Dish TV to significantly increase its DTH offerings to more than 30 HD and 320 SD channels.
Tata Sky, a joint venture between Tata Group and Rupert Murdoch’s Star Group, wants 12 additional transponders for expansion but Isro is unable to meet their needs.
ISRO plans to increase the transponder capacity by building and launching communication satellites GSAT-9, GSAT-10 and GSAT-11.
ISRO at present has 187 transponders from nine Indian communication satellites including transponders of GSAT-12. It has taken 86.5 transponders on lease basis from foreign operators through its marketing wing Antrix Corporation Limited.
Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s office V Narayanasamy said a RFP has been initiated to obtain the responses from interested foreign satellite operators for leasing of space.