Transponders In A Trance

VoicenData Bureau
New Update

With many VSAT service providers and DTH players are talking about how

shortage of transponders is affecting their business, the satellite channel

owners think otherwise. In a interview with Sandeep Budki from VOICE&DATA, Amitabh

Kumar, president- Technology, DishTV and K Krishna, Senior director - Marketing,

Hughes Communication
present their views and counter views.


What is the present usage of transponder capacity by your company?

We have a capacity of 11x36 MHz equivalent transponder units of


KK: We use approximately four transponders.

K Krishna, Senior director - Marketing, Hughes Communication

K Krishna, 

Senior director - Marketing, Hughes Communication

How is shortage of transponders effecting your existing operations?

Dish TV uses very efficient compression technologies, which helps us

place an equivalent of 16 channels per 36 MHz. We are able to achieve this

without any degradation of quality because of the following reasons:- Our

transponders are a mix of 36 MHz and 54 MHz transponders. By operating larger

bandwidth transponders (54 MHz) we are able to do a better statistical

multiplexing. (Statistical multiplexing is a process of sharing of bandwidth

amongst a large no of channels as a pool. It is more efficient larger the

bandwidth). The satellite NSS6 has automatic loop control (ALC), which corrects

the satellite-transmitted power by up to 15 dB (300 times) in case of any

degradation due to rain or storms in the uplink signal. Hence the satellite

always transmits at maximum power. This enables us to maintain high compression

as well as signal degradations, which would otherwise have a detrimental effect.

At present no other operator has these twin advantages of 54 MHz transponders

(which give better statistical multiplexing) and ALC on satellite, which permits

us to retain high efficiency even in case of rain.

KK: The transponder shortage in the existing satellites is forcing us

to build additional earth stations and this is not a very economical step. Even

though the crunch has not affected us today, but if this continues it would

seriously hamper our growth plans.

Amitabh Kumar, president- Technology, DishTV

Amitabh Kumar, president- Technology, DishTV


are your plans for the future?

We have been constantly adding new channels at our platform. Last month

we added 8 new channels and 4 days ago we added Star Cricket on our channel. We

will be taking up the number of channel up to 200 by this year-end.

KK: This is company confidential and I would like to refrain from


Is there a shortage of transponders?

We are at present not witnessing any shortage of transponder. It is

evident from the fact that we have been adding channels on regular basis for our

subscribers and at present we are the only platform offering 170 channels.


KK: Space segment is a resource that needs a lot of planning by

various agencies and by the satellite operators. To get a payload in orbit is a

two to three year effort. In the past satellite operators have had unutilized

capacity due to uncertain regulatory scenario. Presently most of them have not

planned for capacity due to this reason. When the DTH option was opened, the DTH

operators booked a number of transponders. This has led to a crunch. To add to

this, the failure of INSAT 4C launch has also added to the problem.

What are the probable measures that can ease the problem?

ISRO is planning an alternate spacecraft to INSAT 4C named as INSAT 4CR.

This should ease the situation a little bit. Going forward, ISRO should induct

other foreign spacecrafts into its fleet for offering bandwidth to VSAT

operators. This would further ease the situation.

Sandeep Budki