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Bangabandhu satellite connects local TVs, banking

  • Published at 10:43 pm April 27th, 2019
Bangabandhu-1 satellite
File photo of Bangabandhu-1 satellite at Kennedy Space Centre in Florida

Bangladesh has 40 private satellite TV channels and over 7,000 ATM booths

Besides providing feed to local television channels (TVs), Bangabandhu satellite-I (BS-I) is set to also connect automated teller machines (ATMs), to offer uninterrupted and secure banking services, said officials.

They said isolated parts of the country are also going to be connected to internet services using the bandwidth of the country’s first geostationary communication satellite which will complete one year of service since its launch on May 12, reports BSS.

On Saturday, Bangladesh Communication Satellite Company Limited (BCSCL) Chairman, Dr Shahjahan Mahmood,  said all local TVs will be connected by May 12 while a trial run of ATMs is on, before the final demonstration at the celebration of the launching anniversary.

“Initially, Dutch-Bangla Bank Limited (DBBL) would launch the trial run of an ATM using bandwidth of BS-I at the anniversary ceremony with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina present,” he revealed, mentioning a plan of bringing a maximum number of ATMs in its coverage.

Questioned, the BCSCL chairman said BS-I will provide a more secure service for ATMs than a fiber-based connection, and “no scope is here of any information leakage.”

“Besides, an initiative has also been taken to provide 3G and broadband internet connectivity using BS-I to the people of Hatia Island and other remote parts of the country,” Dr Shahjahan added.

At present, the country has 40 private satellite TV channels and the number of ATM booths is over 7,000.

Regarding the use of BS-I, DBBL Managing Director Abul Kashem Mohammad Shirin said, they witnessed excellent results during the trial run.

“We will connect our ATMs in remote and isolated areas, through dedicated bandwidth of BS-I to offer digital services to our valued clients,” he added.

Mentioning that DBBL has 4,800 ATMs, the highest across the country, Kashem hoped they would reach more people and areas by satellite.

Officials said the anniversary day programs shall include demonstrations of online banking, online transactions, TV feeds, d2h, and more. 

The prime minister is expected to grace the ceremony as chief guest. They said the BCSCL also plans to expand its business beyond the country.

About operating abroad, Dr Shahjahan said  Philippines and Nepal have already shown interest in availing the services of BS-I. 

Responding to a query, he said so far 19 local TV channels are running transmissions and receiving feed from BS-I, and the “remaining TVs would join BS-I coverage from May 12.”

Commenting on the cost, the BCSCL chairman said TVs would pay $2,000 per month which they were giving to their existing carriers. Each TV station requires 4-6MHz frequency, he added.

French firm Thales Alenia Space launched BS-I on May 12 of last year from Florida, USA, at a cost of Tk2,765 crore and according to the plan, it will reach break-even within seven years of starting commercial service with 40 transponders. One transponder is equivalent to 36MHz.

Located on the 119.1 east geostationary slot, BS-I covers the SAARC countries and Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkestan, and parts of Kazakhstan.

The satellite’s operations include “direct-to-home” service for TV channels, VSAT (very small aperture terminal), backhaul and network restoration, disaster preparedness and relief, and much more.