Six private television channels yesterday entered into agreements with Bangladesh Communication Satellite Company Ltd (BCSCL) to air programmes through the Bangabandhu Satellite–1.
The deals were signed at a programme at the InterContinental Dhaka hotel where the first anniversary of the successful launch of Bangladesh’s first satellite was celebrated.
Deepto TV, Somoy TV, Jamuna TV, Bijoy TV, Bangla TV, and MY TV will run programmes through the satellite, which was launched into orbit from Florida on May 12 last year under a project involving Tk 2,702 crore.
No figures on the sum involved in the contracts were given.
BCSCL Chairman Shahjahan Mahmood said BCSCL is providing low-cost services to local channels compared to existing service providers.
Other television stations will be on board within next few days, he said.
Currently, most television channels in Bangladesh, including four-state owned stations, are using the country’s lone satellite on a pilot basis, officials said. There are 31 television channels in the country.
At the ceremony, BCSCL also signed a memorandum of understanding with Sonali Bank, allowing the state-run lender to take connectivity from the satellite.
Among the services, giving connectivity for television transmission and direct-to-home (DTH) service are the main features of the satellite, said Mahmood.
A company has taken connectivity to launch the DTH service, said Mahmood.
On Wednesday, Beximco Communi-cations Ltd launched its DTH service Akash. BCSCL officials said Akash is taking five out of 40 transponders of the satellite.
A satellite’s transponder is the series of interconnected units that form a communications channel between the receiving and the transmitting antennas. It is mainly used in satellite communication to transfer the received signals.
The DTH service and televisions will use one-fourth capacity of the satellite. Another one-fourth will be used by the Army, the Navy and other government agencies, banks and some non-governmental organisations working in the remotest parts of the country.
“The satellite covers the entire country and will help remove the digital divide,” said Mahmood.
Information Minister Hasan Mahmud called the launch of the satellite as a matter of pride for Bangladesh. Local TV channels, banks and telemedicine services are getting low-cost services from the satellite, he said.
Posts, Telecom and ICT Minister Mustafa Jabbar said the Bangabandhu Satellite-2 will be launched as per Awami League’s election pledge.
“We are taking preparations to launch the next satellite,” he said.
About 772 remote chars, valleys and islands will come under the satellite connectivity by 2021, according to BCSCL officials.
The company is expected to reach its commercial targets within seven years. The postal department released a commemorative stamp to mark the occasion.
Zunaid Ahmed Palak, state minister for ICT, and AKM Rahmatullah, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on posts, telecom and ICT, also spoke.