Preparatory functions and Supervision in Launching a Communication and Broadcasting Satellite Project.
Today almost all the modern and enlightened nations have their own satellite in the orbit. A sovereign country, in a pursuit of sustainable development, needs its own satellite in order to reduce its dependency on other nations. BTRC started working with the vision to open new dimension of possibility in the telecommunication sector of Bangladesh by launching its first ever satellite. Preliminary implementation activities are in progress with the consultation of USA based consultancy firm Space Partnership International (SPI) and specialist advice of International Telecommunication Union (ITU). A country like Bangladesh is highly exposed to natural disaster risk because of its unique geographical location. Telecommunication system is Bangladesh has always been suffering from interruptions and problems as erratic disasters hit the country. During such emergency situation, Satellite network can play an important role in ensuring uninterrupted telecommunication services in Bangladesh.
Background & Objective
In order to ensure better telecommunication services, BTRC always felt the need of having its own satellite network. It had a long cherished dream of having country’s first satellite. In order to materialize the dream, BTRC formed a committee in April, 2008 which was then reformed in January, 2010. This committee performed various important activities like submission of electronic filing for 1020 E and 690 E to ITU, Coordination Request (CR) notification to ITU etc. The committee also maintained a continuous liaison with ITU to perform all secretarial jobs in this regard. This is to be mentioned here that every member state of ITU has to follow ITU regulations in order to launch their satellite.
Recognizing the importance of the satellite launching preparatory activities, BTRC formulated a project with the title “Preparatory functions and Supervision in Launching a Communication and Broadcasting Satellite”-which was then approved by the government on 26 January, 2012 with an estimated project cost of Taka 8,681.51 lakh and with an implementation tenure from 01 July, 2011 to 30 June, 2015.
As the allotment process of orbital position and relevant frequencies from ITU is very complex and Bangladesh had no previous experience in satellite launching activities, the need of expert consultant to assist in the primary activities was highly felt, and a USA based consultancy firm Space Partnership International (SPI), was appointed under the project on 29 March, 2012 following proper rules and regulation.
Since then the Project team and SPI is working hand in hand to materialize the objectives of this Project including:
- Feasibility Study and Business plan for the Satellite services
- Consolidate requirements of potential users, based on feasibility study by the consultant. These requirements shall be combined with regional market conditions to create a business plan for a potential satellite.
- Develop an Overall Communications System Requirements and Performance Characteristics for the Satellite System.
- Preparation and review of filings submitted and to be submitted by the Bangladesh Administration to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), and any existing coordination agreements, and recommend the way forward to reserve the required orbital slot and frequencies.
- Define satellite system architecture and prepare RFP/tender document.
- Comprehensive construction monitoring, launch monitoring and In-Orbit test support during the construction and launch phases.
- Background works for the formation of a satellite operating company (Government or PPP) in Bangladesh.
- Training/transfer of knowledge for the operation and maintenance of proposed satellite.
Baseline Characteristics of the country’s first Satellite:
Bangladesh has planned to launch a Communication & Broadcasting Satellite consisting 24 Ku and 16 C-band transponders. The priority satellite applications are Direct to Home (DTH), VSAT, Backhaul and Trunking, Network Restoration, Disaster Preparedness and relief etc. The Primary Service Area (PSA) would be Bangladesh and neighboring countries and the Secondary Service Area (SSA) would be South East Asia, Europe, MENA, and East Africa depending on orbital slot.
The system concept of the proposed satellite comprises with satellite payload requirements, orbital slot/frequencies, coverage area(s), ground segment, user terminal design characteristics, satellite operations and environmental factors. There will be two ground stations for satellite operation and control, one as the primary site and other as the backup site. The RF survey for probable sites has already been completed. However, these requirements shall be finalized during the preparation and finalization of tender document for launching the satellite.
Figure: System Concept - Big Picture
Current Project Activities
The preparatory project has made significant progress since its inception in the area of feasibility study, frequency coordination for achieving an orbital slot, arranging source of fund, RF survey for finalizing two locations for satellite ground stations and preparation of DPP for the next project named “Bangabandhu Satellite Launching Project” etc. The project team has taken training on Satellite systems in Washignton D.C., USA and is working relentlessly to fulfill the major objective of the project of having country’s first satellite in orbit. The Project activities are continuing with proper direction of Project Steering Committee (PSC) and the Project Implementation Committee (PIC) as well as with the efficient and experienced consultation of SPI. The project office is working to achieve an orbital slot for launching our own satellite for the probable locations like 690 E, 740 E, 1020 E and 1330 E. The API has been submitted and CR-C notification is being published by ITU in BR IFIC for the above mentioned orbital slots. Besides, for initiating the coordination activities, the project office has already sent formal requests to many administrations including Iran, USA, India, Pakistan, Israel, Japan, Cyprus, Armenia, Uzbekistan and many more for 690 E and 1020 E orbital slot. The detailed coordination activities are expected to start soon.
In addition to regular activities, the project office communicates with ITU and maintaining liaison as and when required. Now, Bangladesh is looking forward to a successful launch of the country’s first satellite which will ensure improved and uninterrupted connectivity with the rest of the world.
Office of the Project Director
Preparatory functions and Supervision in Launching
a Communication and Broadcasting Satellite-Project
IEB Bhaban (5th floor), Ramna, Dhaka-1000.
Phone: +880 2 9611111, ext: 320
Fax: +880 2 9556677