The Telecom Commission (TC) has approved the department of telecom (DoT) proposal to have an independent, dedicated satellite for telecom services. The project, which is estimated, to cost about $500 million is likely to the awarded to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
The TC approval came after the DoT has submitted the recommendations of its internal committee. The launch of the satellite will take about 24 months because the DoT will first have to work out the modalities, after which the Isro will take 12-24 months to build the satellite. The satellite will largely cater to public sector company BSNL, which has been entrusted with the task of executing most of the government's rural programmes. At the same time, the DoT will also extend these facilities to public sector company MTNL and private operators. Currently, private operators lease transponder space from foreign satellites. Most operators in India have a heavy requirement for satellite bandwidth, especially as a backup to link their rural networks.