The Working Group on the Tenth Five Year Plan on Information and Broadcasting has suggested that a bouquet of 20 DD channels in free-to-air mode in the Ku-band be provided through satellite distribution so as to achieve 100 per cent coverage of DD National.
Ku-band is currently available for value-added services and direct-to-home (DTH) broadcasting, but not for terrestrial broadcasting. Currently, DD National reaches out to 89.1 per cent of the population, and the quantum of investment required to cover the remaining population will be prohibitively expensive.
The group has said that most of the uncovered areas are hilly and sparsely populated, with the infrastructure facilities such as availability of power being very poor. The operational and maintenance cost of terrestrial transmitters would hence be very expensive.
With the opening up of Ku-band, viewers would either be able to receive satellite signals directly at their homes or through a cable operator.
The investment required to increase the present population coverage from 90 per cent to 95 per cent with a bouquet of 20 channels by the proposed satellite mode in Ku-band is estimated to be Rs 338 crore over a period of five years. Recurring cost is estimated to be Rs 36 crore. Additional capital expenditure of Rs 300 crore would be required for achieving the remaining five per cent.