More Indian satellite services, but space needed

Indian consumers have been promised high-speed internet access and multimedia via satellite by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), but more capacity is desperately needed even for the up-and-running DTH pay-TV sector, an industry conference heard.

Satellite Communications: A New Era for India, organised by the Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA), was told that more market de-regulation was needed.

“Despite the extraordinary success of ISRO over the past couple of years, the digital telecoms and DTH markets remain seriously under-provisioned in terms of transponders,” said Simon Twiston Davies, CEO, CASBAA. “Commercial satellite services such as VSAT systems delivering national communications backbones and DTH services for home subscribers just can’t source enough satellite capacity from the domestic market. Additional market de-regulation supporting international partnerships is essential.”

ISRO scientific secretary A Bhaskaranarayana said the Indian satellite sector currently boasts some 211 satellite transopnders on 11 domestic satellites, recently boosted by the successful launch of the Vhandrayan-1 satellite into lunar orbit. As well as plans for internet access, multimedia and other IP-based services, there is also initiative for a domestically-developed global positioning satellite navigation system.

India now has over 240 licensed TV channels, some 10 million DTH connections and 4 million digital set-top boxes. The market is forecast by CASBAA to grow by between 4% and 6% in 2009.