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Eutelsat hits a roadblock due to Ku-band restrictions

05-September-2002
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Eutelsat hits a roadblock due to Ku-band restrictions

Exporting Indian channels to Europe and other countries is among the big ideas keeping some broadcasters engaged these days. And, Eutelsat, the Paris-based leading provider of satellite infrastructure for broadcasting, telecommunications and Internet services, is the one behind hardselling this idea to several broadcasters in India which do not have a presence abroad.

But, there’s a hitch: Eutelsat can offer its services to channels in the country only when Ku-band is opened up for all television broadcasting. Reason: The Eutelsat coverage of India via SESAT satellite is only through Ku-band transponder. But right now, Ku-band in India is synonymous with only Direct-to-Home (DTH) television, while all other broadcasting is through C-band. It may be recalled that the government had lifted the ban on Ku-band only for DTH services recently.

Without naming the broadcasters that are talking to Eutelsat, a company official that their proposal to support Indian broadcasters is to extend their transmission capability into Europe through our SESAT satellite, to be complemented by a new Eutelsat satellite called W5. Among others, regional channels in India with heavy news content are interested in getting on to the Eutelsat platform.

Besides reaching an estimated audience of 100 million cable and satellite homes in Europe, Eutelsat could provide a turnaround into North America (the USA and Canada) or Africa through its three Atlantic Gate satellites.

The crux of the matter is that this French satellite infrastructure company is offering Indian channels a single point of access into four continents.

But the Ku-band ban for broadcasting (other than for DTH) is something that Eutelsat must grapple with before entering into any ventures with TV channels in India. Although government officials have toyed with the idea of opening up Ku-band for all TV broadcasting, no decision has been taken on that front so far.

According to sources, Eutelsat has been in dialogue with the Indian government for lifting the ban on Ku-band for TV broadcasting.

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