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Doordarshan's DTH telecast from April 1

March 19, 2004 15:31 IST

Prasar Bharti CEO K S Sarma on Friday said the state broadcaster's direct-to-home telecast will be launched on schedule from April 1.

Asked whether the "poor man's DTH" was likely to be delayed, Sarma told PTI: "The DTH service is on schedule. Transponders are being tested....we have signed a contract with the Indian Space Research Organisation."

But highly placed sources said this service may be delayed since several components like dishes, receiving equipment and set top boxes are yet to be imported.

The sources said the infrastrutural requirements of DTH were far from fulfilled and that the service was unlikely to begin before June.

"DTH telecast needs several equipment like dishes, set top boxes and other receiving equipment. Most of these are yet to be imported," they said, adding the government has already said it will provide 10,000 dishes free across eight states for increased community viewing of the DTH service.

Asked whether the distribution of free dishes would violate the model code of conduct since it will be done just before polls, sources said there was no violation of the code, but declined to comment further.

The government is believed to be investing over Rs 300 crore (Rs 3 billion) in this DTH venture.

To kickstart its DTH operation, Prasar Bharti inked an agreement with the ISRO on Thursday.

The state broadcaster signed the memorandum of understanding with the ISRO for the supply of Ku-band transponders for Doordarshan's upcoming DTH service.

In accordance with the MoU, ISRO will initially supply four leased Ku-band transponders to Doordarshan on NSS-6 satellite, which will be later replaced by ISRO's satellites on INSAT 4A/4B when these become operational next year.

Prasar Bharti will pay Rs 30 crore (Rs 300 million) per annum towards transponder charges.

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