Bangladesh Communication Satellite Company Limited was going to appoint an international consultant to finalise the nature of the country’s second satellite, Bangabandhu-2, by conducting a feasibility study.
BCSCL chairman Shahjahan Mahmood said that Bangabanhdu-2 would definitely be a hybrid satellite, but the issue would be finalised after getting feedback from the consultant.
He said that they would publish an advertisement to appoint the consultant immediately. ‘We would allow the consultant a maximum of three to four months to submit the study report,’ he added.
BCSCL had taken the initiative to build the second satellite after the successful launch of the country’s first communication satellite, Bangabandhu-1, last year, as the government had promised to launch the second one within its tenure by 2023.
BCSCL said that as the first satellite was a geo-stationary communication satellite, the second one would be a hybrid satellite which can support weather forecast and surveillance along with other activities.
Mahmood said that Bangladesh had 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,’ he added.
The BCSCL chairman, however, referring to the experiences of Bangabanhdu-1, underscored the necessity for a government policy for the rent of international satellites in Bangladesh. He suggested the government offered financial incentive for the usage on local satellites.
He hoped that Bangabandhu-1 would reach the break-even point within nine years as it was set to earn Tk 125 crore annually so far from the sale of 26 per cent capacity.
In addition, the company was also set to sign deals to sell another 25 per cent of capacity within the next couple of months.
‘Bangabandhu-1 has the opportunity to earn more than Tk 200 crore by selling the remaining capacity,’ added Mahmood.
About the landing issue of Bangabandhu-1 in India, he said: ‘We have talked with Intersputnik and they have said that 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 state-owned television channel Bangladesh Television as its first client which is paying Tk 18 crore annually.
The company will also earn Tk 60 crore from other private television channels. In addition, it is getting Tk 4 crore from the ministries of shipping and fisheries.
Apart from this, the remaining amount was 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 Tk 2,765 crore.
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