All India Radio (AIR) plans to extend its digital service to Europe and is negotiating with WorldSpace. AIR will have to hire more space on AfriStar, in order to offer its service in Europe.
According to sources, for the Europe market, AIR on WorldSpace will be a paid service. As per a WorldSpace survey, the service is likely to be priced at $10 a month.
The move is still in the proposal stage, but officials do not foresee any hitch in it being cleared. Since the subscription service will mean a commercial/revenue-sharing arrangement between WorldSpace and AIR, both parties are expected to welcome it.
Currently, the AIR signal is available only on one beam of AfriStar and two of AsiaStar. Once AIR gets on to another beam of AfriStar, the service will be available in Europe and large portions of Africa. As for the US region, AIR had plans to get on AmeriStar too, at a later stage.
AIR is in the process of getting government sanction for uplinking from the AIR building itself for the WorldSpace service. Once such an approval is granted a revenue-sharing deal between AIR and WorldSpace will be worked out.
After getting approval for uplinking, AIR will have two separate programming line-ups — one for India and another for the rest of the South Asian region covered by AsiaStar. The countries that this beam will cover include India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Burma, Nepal, UAE and Afghanistan.
Source: Financial Express