Govt Mulls Opening Ku Band For Broadcast

New Delhi: | Updated: Dec 23 2002, 05:30am hrs
After lifting the ban on Ku band for direct-to-home (DTH) television, the government is examining the proposal to allow Ku band uplinking for all TV broadcasting, according to information and broadcasting minister Sushma Swaraj. This is in response to representations made by a group of teleport owners and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the minister said.

So far, broadcasters, other than for DTH, can uplink only through C-band in India. This is in direct conflict with the government policy of promoting India as an uplinking hub. Ever since India liberalised its uplinking norms, allowing companies with up to 49 per cent of foreign equity to set up teleports, companies have been queuing up for the same. These companies are eyeing lucrative business, through leasing out of their teleports to interested parties. But, because many of the satellite companies such as Eutelsat offer only Ku band facility, uplinking through only C band is seen as a major hindrance in the teleport business.

As Ku band broadcasting was considered a security threat, which is the main reason for imposing the ban on it for several years, the government is consulting other ministries such as Home Affairs, before taking a decision on the issue.

Already, 16 teleports have come up in India ever since the uplinking policy was liberalised in 2000.

But even as ban on Ku band was lifted to allow DTH broadcasting two years ago, the prohibition on the band continues for uplinking of TV channels (other than for DTH).

According to the uplinking guidelines, teleport licensees can uplink to both Indian and foreign satellites. However, the norms clearly state that uplinking will be allowed only through C-band.

The eligibility criteria for a broadcaster setting up earth station for uplinking its own TV channel are different. Any TV channel, irrespective of its ownership, equity structure or management control aimed at Indian viewership can uplink from the country.