DTH customers hit by Insat-4B power glitch

Bangalore, July 9 (IANS) About 70 percent of direct-to-home (DTH) customers across the country have been affected by the sudden failure of Insat-4B’s solar panel, a leading digital cable operator claimed Friday.

‘About 70 percent of major DTH customer base has been affected with television channels going off air due to the satellite failure,’ Atria Convergence Technologies (ACT) Television managing director Sunder Raju said here in a statement.

Earlier in the day, state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) admitted a power glitch in one of the satellite’s two solar panels had hit its operational services, switching off the broadcasting service from 12 of its 24 transponders.

‘A power supply glitch in one of the two solar panels late Thursday switched off services from 12 of the 24 transponders in Ku-band and C-band on board the satellite,’ ISRO director S. Satish told IANS here.

The three-tonne Insat-4B was launched March 12, 2007 from Kourou in French Guiana on board the Ariane-5 rocket of the European ArianeSpace agency to meet the growing communications requirements of India.

As a communication component, a transponder receives a signal from the earth and sends it back at a different frequency, allowing near-instantaneous transmission between distant points on the earth’s surface.

Customers of digital cable and IPTV (internet protocol television), however, continue to receive uninterrupted service as their operators do not depend on external satellites.

The sudden snag has affected the broadcasting services of major DTH operators such as Sun TV and state-run Doordarshan and data services of Tata VSNL.

ISRO scientists are working overtime to restore the DTH services of the operators at the earliest, by shifting them to transponders on its other satellites.

‘Our scientists and technical experts are taking contingency measures to shift the affected services from Insat-4B to other Insat series of satellites, which are operating in Ku band,’ Satish said.

ISRO has about 210 transponders on board its communication satellites in the Insat series.

The suspension of satellite-based DTH service has again brought to the fore the debate between digital cable TV and DTH players in providing uninterrupted television viewing.

The Bangalore-based ACT Television is a leading multi service operator offering cable TV, internet, data and brandband services to its customers through cabel-to-home link.

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