Tata Sky Frustrated With ISRO GSAT-10 Setbacks

[Satellite TODAY Insider 07-20-11] Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) satellite launch delays are impacting Tata Sky’s ability to supply the spectrum needed to support its future telecom and broadcast services, Tata Sky Managing Director and CEO Harit Nagpal said in a July 19 statement.

   Tata Sky, the DTH TV joint venture of the Tata Group, has been awaiting the allotment of additional transponders from ISRO for four years. ISRO launched the GSAT 12 July15, but DTH providers are not eligible for its transponder capacity.
   “At this point we can’t carry new channels that the Indian ministry releases. Nor can we add any more HD channels to the six we already have due to capacity constraints,“ said Nagpal.
   Arianespace was contracted to launch the GSAT-10 communications satellite for ISRO using an Ariane 5 rocket from the Guiana Space Center, in Kourou, French Guiana. The launch is scheduled for the first quarter of 2012. The GSAT-10 satellite carries payloads with transponder space for navigation, data communications services and broadcasting.
   Nagpal said the transponders would allow the company to double the number of channels it offers subscribers from 200 at present to 400. “We had applied for an additional 12 transponders in 2007 and in accordance to the policy, we should have gotten additional transponders within 24 months of application. Due to delays in the launch of ISRO’s GSAT-10 satellite, we have yet to receive these transponders.”
    Tata Sky is trying to compete with Dish TV to provide a greater variety of regional and local channels to potential customers. Both companies see HD broadcasting as a key asset and expect that as many as 40 channels would be launched in the next two years.
   “Limited transponder capacity remains a key issue,” said Nagpal. “Once we start looking beyond the metro areas, the next big jump will come from smaller towns. To tap this demand it will be important for us to be able to broadcast the top 20 to 25 regional channels in that state for which, again, we need transponder capacity.”

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