Int’l consultant for 2nd satellite soon: BCSCL

Bangladesh Communication Satellite Company Limited (BCSCL) is going to appoint an international consultant to finalize the type of country’s second satellite, Bangabandhu-2, by conducting a feasibility study, reports BSS.

BCSCL Chairman Dr Shahjahan Mahmood told BSS that Bangabanhdu-2 would definitely be a hybrid satellite, but the issue would be finalized after getting feedback from the consultant.

He said they would publish an advertisement immediately for appointing the consultant. “We would allow the consultant maximum 3/4 months to submit their study report,” he added.

BCSCL has taken the initiative for the second satellite after the successful launch of country’s first communication satellite Bangabandhu-1 last year, as the government promised to launch the second one within its tenure by 2023. BCSCL said that as the first satellite is a geo-stationary communication satellite, the second one will be a hybrid satellite which can support weather forecast and surveillance along with other activities.

Dr Mahmood said Bangladesh has applied to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for a dedicated national orbital slot in four positions -69E, 74E, 102E and 133E- in the space for the second satellite. “But, the slots will only provide coverage on the country. That is why we should move for an international slot for more coverage areas.”

The BCSCL Chairman, however, referring to the experiences of Bangabanhdu-1, underscored the necessity of government policy for the rent of international satellite in Bangladesh. He suggested the government offer financial incentive for the usage on local satellite.

He hoped Bangabandhu-1 would reach break-even point within nine years as it is set to earn Taka 125 crore annually so far from the sale of 26 percent capacity. In addition, the company is also set to sign deals to sell another 25 percent capacity within next couple of months.

“Bangabandhu-1 has the opportunity to earn more than Taka 200 crore by selling the remaining capacity,” added Dr Mahmood.

About the landing issue of Bangabandhu-1 in India, he said: “We have talked with Intersputnik and they said it will be solved as soon as possible.”

Bangladesh has leased the 119.1 East orbital slot for Bangabandhu-1 from the Russian company Intersputnik.

BCSCL got Bangladesh Television as their first client and the state-owned television channel is paying Taka 18 crore annually.

The company will also earn Taka 60 crore from other private television channels. In addition, it is getting Taka 4 crore from the ministries of shipping and fisheries.

Apart from this, the remaining amount is coming from the Direct-to-Home (DTH) service of Beximco Communications Limited, said Mahmood without revealing the deal value. “We have done a very conservative calculation about the unsold capacity and estimated it will take hardly nine years to recover the total cost of the Bangabandhu-1 satellite,” said the BCSCL Chairman.

Bangabandhu-1 was launched under a project involving Taka 2,765 crore.