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Pie in the sky: Indian Inc increasingly using satellites
Few days before the World Cup finals between Spain and the Netherlands, football fans in parts of India found themselves unsure of whether they were going to be able to watch the clash of the Titans. The problem: a power supply failure in the communications satellite Insat -4B, meant that some Direct-To-Home (DTH) players like Sun Direct and DD Direct were unable to provide services to their viewers.

While Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientists quickly swung into action to rectify the problem, it served as a quick reminder of how much businesses are dependant on satellites—be it in terms of satellite technology, data or imagery. In fact, it is estimated that almost 56% of the revenues of the Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of the ISRO, in 2008-2009, came from the business of leasing out transponders for the video and telecommunication services.

The biggest user, undeniably, is the DTH industry, which already has a market of over 22 million homes in India and is expected to add another 10-11 million this year. According to Salil Kapoor, COO of Dish TV, “The entire business centers around renting or leasing out satellite space or transponders from ISRO or other international satellite agencies. The capacity of channels that we can offer will depend on availability of satellite space.” In practice, the channels are first uplinked from the DTH operator and sent in encrypted form to the satellite, which then beams them back to the dishes placed on rooftops, and is then decrypted by the set-top boxes in individual homes. While Dish TV, has about eleven 36.5 MHz transponders, Reliance BigTV, which uses a Malaysian satellite Measat-3, has about 8 transponders. According to industry sources, renting out a single transponder could mean spending a whopping Rs 5 crore per year.

Full Story: Indian DTH Blog

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There should be regular maintenance of satellites and provision should be made to avoid failure in signal and predictable unforeseen controllable issues related to satellite especially during important events like sports and others.
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