Mumbai Set To Get A Mega Teleport

Mumbai: | Updated: Jul 31 2002, 05:30am hrs
A Rs 320-crore teleport will be set up in Mumbai, making it an international hub for communication infrastructure.

Maharashtra government, in consortium with foreign and private Indian partners, is planning to put in place the countrys biggest teleport in Mumbais Film City. The teleport will provide full backward integration of digital cinema operations and direct-to-home (DTH) service origination capacities. It is aimed at being a one-stop shop to meet all broadcasting needs.

The foreign equity holding in the project will be 49 per cent while the state government will have a 26 per cent stake. The debt equity ratio is proposed at 1:1, though foreign partners have suggested a higher equity component.

Indian companies like BPL Innovision and Essel Shyam Communications have expressed interest in participating in the project. We have received letters of interest from several Indian companies. But we will be inviting applications before we decide on the partner, said Maharashtra principal secretary, cultural affairs, and managing director of Film City Govind Swarup.

In the first phase, the plan is to invest Rs 220 crore within one-and-a-half years. The project is proposed to be operational within nine months of commencement of work. The second phase will require an investment of Rs 100 crore, which will cover new applications such as DTH service support integration and digital cinema operations.

Maharashtra government has prepared a blueprint for the project. Satellite Broadcast Engineering and Technology Service (SBETS) is the technical consultant to the project, said Mr Swarup. The co-founders of SBETS have direct experience of installing teleports in different countries. Allianz is the financial consultant.

The state government will hold the 26 per cent equity against land for the teleport, which can go up with cash component.

Major players in uplinking business from the US, Europe and Asia have evinced interest but the lineup of consortium has not been finalised yet. Broadcasters will primarily be the users but the facility will be of value to production companies and syndicators, content repurposing and delivery networks, and news agencies.

It will be one of the top teleports in the world in terms of ability and investment. Since we are a neutral agency, users will have more confidence in us. We are leveraging on the strengths of the Bollywood market to create an infrastructure of international standard for meeting the needs of the creative audio-visual industry, said Mr Swarup.