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Nepal Telecom to Setup World Class Hub Station for DTH Operators
Nepal Telecom to Setup World Class Hub Station for DTH Operators


Nepal Telecom (NT) is planning to provide earth station service to direct-to-home (DTH) operators. The state-owned telecom giant is working to set up a shared DTH hub at its Sagarmatha Satellite Earth Station at Balambu, Kathmandu to make the service available within six months.

According to NT, it will invest an estimated US$ 2.75 million for the world class hub station. It will lease two carriers with 72 MHz transponders.

“The NT board has asked us to prepare the specifications for leasing satellite transponders,” said Birendra Prasad Pradhan, manager of the NT’s Satellite Service Directorate. “Though we have not signed any contract yet, AsiaSat and INTELSAT have shown interest in leasing us transponders having footprints over South Asia.”

NT’s move has come when two DTH operators, Satellite Nepal and Dish Media Network, are at the final stage of start services under the brand names Home TV and Dish Nepal respectively. NT aims to offer hub services to three-four DTH operators using DVB S2 MPEG-4 statistical multiplexing technology for maximization of throughput.

CG TechnoDreams, one of the nine firms given permission to operate DTH service in the country,has shown interest in subscribing to NT’s hub station service.

“CG TechnoDreams will use our hub to transmit 60 channels in the initial phase. Later, more DTH operators can join our network,” said Pradhan. He added that NT’s world class hub would be able to transmit 80-120 channels.

There are an estimated two million television households in the country. Each operator needs to create a subscriber base of 150,000 to survive. They can expect heavy competition from cable operators who are adding more channels with digital quality, said television experts.

“We are going to start this service to provide DTH services in rural areas,” said Bishwo Nath Goyal, NT deputy managing director.” If three-four DTH operators use our service, the transponder leasing cost would go down, and customers would be able to watch quality television for a monthly fee of Rs. 150-200.”

The Ministry of Information and Communications has given permission to nine firms, namely Satellite Channel, Dish Media Network, M Vision, CG Techno Dreams, Telko Investment, Marigold Entertainment, Cosmic Telecommunications Service, Biswabinayak Network and Clean Communications, to operate DTH services in the country.

Tele Direct, which had also obtained a permit to operate the service, withdrew its application citing lack of satellite transponders having a footprint in Nepal.

NT said it would most likely use INTELSAT with 72 MHz Ku-band transponders covering South Asia. The transponder leasing cost will be within US$ 3 million. If only one DTH operator uses the hub service, it will have to pay Rs. 10-20 million per month as hub station service charge. NT spokesperson Surendra Prasad Thike said that if more operators join their network, the charge would be reduced accordingly.
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Nepali DTH Firms Struggle to Lease Transponders

The government has issued licenses to six firms to operate direct to home (DTH) satellite television. However, experts have stated that three operators at the most would be able to operate the service as there aren’t enough satellite transponders having a footprint in Nepal.

According to experts in television broadcasting, most of the satellite transponders have been leased by Indian companies and Nepali DTH operators will not be able to obtain sufficient frequency bandwidth till 2012. Leasing a satellite costs over Rs. 250 million annually and on an average 108MHz is needed for transmitting 60 channels in MPEG 4 format.

“Since Nepal does not generate much revenue for DTH operators, they have leased satellites targeting the Indian market, and some of them also have footprints in Nepal,” said a satellite expert. “Now Nepali DTH operators are going to use these satellites for transmission.” There are also few other satellite transponders having footprints in Nepal but they are charging high because of Indian market making it difficult to get the space, according to Arjun Gurung, director of Delta Core, which provide bandwidth for telecom operators.

Among the six licensees, Satellite Channel and Dish Media Network are rushing to start their service at the earliest by making the necessary arrangements to lease satellite transponders. The two operators plan to provide DTH service with 80 and 74 channels respectively.

“As DTH service is at the initial phase, it will be very hard for operators to survive in the market without building a strong customer network of at least 100,000 subscribers within a year,” said an official at the Ministry of Information and Communications. “We are curious why they are so eager to obtain licenses by paying Rs. 25,000 per channel.”

The government had made a fourth amendment to the National Broadcasting Regulations four months ago to permit potential Nepali firms to operate DTH service in Nepal by setting up their own hub stations. According to the regulations, firms wanting to provide DTH service have to pay Rs. 25,000 per channel and operate a minimum of 60 channels to qualify for a license. After they have made a satellite leasing agreement, they have to acquire a license for an earth station by paying Rs. 100,000 per channel.

“Let’s see how soon the operators start their service as they have to complete the process of satellite agreement, obtaining the license for an earth station, procuring equipment, installing the equipment and inspection of the station by government officials before they start transmission,” said Shailaja Regmi, under secretary at the ministry.

According to the frequency management department of the ministry, it is necessary to submit a copy of the satellite agreement to the ministry to obtain a license for an earth station. Only Satellite Channel has received it as of Tuesday. Dish Media Network said that it would obtain the earth station license very soon as it had already signed a contract to lease a satellite transponder with PCCW Global Hong Kong, the largest satellite service operator in Asia Pacific.

“We will start with 70 channels and create a subscriber base of 200,000 in the next two years,” said Laxmi Prasad Poudyal, a member of the management committee of Dish Media Network.

The Ministry of Information and Communications has issued licenses to Satellite Channel, M Vision, CG Techno Dreams, Telko Investment, Tele Direct and Marigold Entertainment. Tele Direct, Cosmic Telecommunications Service, Biswabinayak Network and Clean Communications have been approved to operate DTH service but they are yet to pay the fee and collect their licenses. There are an estimated two million television viewing households in the country.
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STB & Remote is copy of TATA ( SKY:omg:
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Ya STB and Remote Same... Might Be From Same Manufacturer Digicomp...
[Image: izvqcn.jpg]

wIcKeD mEnTaLiTy
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Good effort to start a hub station by NT.
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