Govt plans to launch more satellites

Bangabandhu-1 launching deferred to May 7

The government plans to put into orbit more satellites after successful launch of Bangabandhu-1 in order to make satellite communications business viable for the country.

Telecom Minister Mustafa Jabbar said the government is well aware that this kind of business cannot be viable with only one satellite.

“Definitely we will go ahead with Bangabandhu-2 or Bangabandhu-3 within the shortest possible time. We have already had discussions with senior policymakers in this regard,” he observed.

He made the comments at a roundtable on “Bangabandhu-1 Satellite: Opportunity Unlimited” at the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) in Dhaka.

The Telecom Reporters’ Network Bangladesh organised the programme.

Bangabandhu-1 would be launched for its orbital slot on 119.1 degrees east. Three more applications have been made to the International Telecommunication Union for sending satellites on the slots on 69 degrees east, 102 degrees east and 135 degrees east.

The launch of the satellite was scheduled for May 4. However, it has been deferred to May 7 for possible inclement weather.

“The US company SpaceX has fixed the possible date on May 7 for the launch as the weather will not be suitable on May 4,” said the minister, adding that the government has a mega plan about satellites after the first launch.

Speaking at the roundtable, BTRC Chairman Shahjahan Mahmood said the launch of the satellite has been rescheduled as the weather would not be favourable.

The launch of the country’s first satellite has been deferred several times in the past.

Mahmood asked all local television channels to turn their channels from Bangabandhu-1 following its launch.

The satellite will have 40 transponders.

Saiful Islam, managing director of Bangladesh Communication Satellite Company Ltd, said BCSCL is trying to hire a firm to promote the sales of transponders, especially in countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines.

Abu Saeed Khan, senior fellow of LIRNEasia, a Colombo-based ICT think tank, said though the satellite would be in space, its success would be measured in the surface.

“Please form a commercial policy for the satellite company and try to run with the market,” said Khan.

He also called for removal of all taxes for the activities related to the satellite to ensure its commercial success.

Naim Mohammad Fazlun, chief operating officer of AND Telecom Ltd, one of the leading satellite connectivity sellers in the country, called for incentives to connect with the remotest parts of the country with the satellite.

Otherwise, it would be very costly to use the capacity, he said.

Jabbar said the government has identified 772 hard-to-reach unions and will use the satellite to connect with them.

Md Mesbahuzzaman, project director of the Bangabandhu-1 Satellite, Md Khalilur Rahman, associate professor of School of Engineering and Computer Science at Brac University that launched the country’s first nanosatellite last year, and Abdulla Hil Kafi, a research assistant of the Brac University’s satellite project, also spoke

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