PM opens Bangabandhu Satellite’s commercial services Wednesday


Commercial Operation of country’s first communication satellite Bangabandhu-I (BS-I) will be launched on Wednesday and all the local television channels will start their full-fledged transmission using its feed.

“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to open formally the BS-I commercial services to all 34 TV channels in a ceremony on Wednesday morning,” Bangladesh Communication Satellite Company Limited (BCSCL) Chairman Dr Shahjahan Mahmood said.

He said country’s broadcast industry is going to enter a new era as the BS-I will save a huge amount of foreign currency which the local TVs used to pay as rent.

“We have already sold 40 percent capacity of BS-I and expect to sell the remaining capacity in the coming days,” added Dr Mahmood.

Replying to a query, the BCSCL Chairman hoped to earn the entire amount spent for the launching of BS-I from the domestic market within eight years.

Officials said local TV channels have been receiving feed from Apstar 7 and AsiaSat satellites in exchange of US$ 4,000 per Mega Hartz frequency each month on an average.

“We are expecting to earn monthly Taka 7 crore by selling services,” said Dr Mahmood.

Earlier on May 19, BCSCL signed formal agreements with six local TV channels – Somoy TV, Jamuna TV, Deepto TV, Bijoy TV, Bangla TV and MY TV for the use of BS-I. In addition, four channels of the state-owned BTV has been running operation through the feed of BS-I.

BCSCL officials said the draft of the agreement between TVs and BCSCL has been finalized.

All the TVs for their transmission would require the capacities of five transponders of the BS-I. Besides, the local D2H Akash of BEXIMCO has rented six transponders.

On August 28, a delegation of the Association of Television Channel Owners (ATCO) called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office.

They said they have been working sincerely with the authorities concerned to start complete transmission of all the private television channels through the BS-1 on October 2.

Besides, the BCSCL has connected all TV channels through fiber optic cable with its ground station instead of installing earth station to minimize the cost of TV channel owners.

French manufacturer Thales Alenia Space in November last year handed over the controlling authority of BS-I to BCSCL, which was launched by the SpaceX on May 12, 2018 from Florida to the orbit.

The first trial broadcast of BS-I was successfully done through airing the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship 2018.

In addition, BCSCL has hired international consultancy firm Thaicom for two years to run marketing and sale of the connectivity of BS-I in six countries, including four neighbours. The Thai firm is currently active in around 20 countries.

Thales launched the BS-I at a cost of Taka 2,765 crore and according to the plan, it will reach the break-even point within seven years of starting its commercial service.

Located at the 119.1 east geostationary slot, BS-I would cover the SAARC countries and Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkestan and a part of Kazakhstan.

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