Ku band transponder costs $75,000 a year compared to C Band's $50,000.
It is beam time for Indian broadcasters, especially those with multiple channels. The government, as part of the forthcoming television channel uplinking policy, is likely to allow them to use the high-capacity Ku band transponders for uplinking channels from India, allowing a sizeable reduction in their operational costs.
The Ku band, which is digital, can accommodate as many as 10-12 channels on a single transponder, as opposed to the analog C band, on which television channels now uplink, that accommodates just one.
Thus, even though a Ku band transponder costs 50 per cent more than a C band one — $75,000 a year versus $50,000 — multiple channel broadcasters can reduce their costs substantially. For instance, the cost of an eight-channel bouquet will fall from $400,000 a year to just $75,000 with space to spare for two to four more channels.
At the same time, the picture quality will be better. Ku band transponders are now allowed only for direct-to-home (DTH) operations and provide high-quality digital video and audio.
The government had prohibited the use of Ku band transponders in 1998 for cable and satellite channels, when some companies, including Star India, had sought permission to start DTH operations in the country.
Permission to use the Ku band will also help very small aperture satellite terminal (VSAT) operators with a new revenue stream through uplinking operations.
The government is expected to put in place some capital adequacy norms for channels operating in the country. Under this new policy, television broadcasting companies beaming their channels in India will have to conform to certain minimum net worth criteria.
The net worth requirements will be different for news and non-news television channels. The capital adequacy condition will also be applicable to existing broadcasting companies operating in the country.