Recently the Government of Nepal announced to put up its own satellites in space. Following the announcement, Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) has come forward with a plan to launch its satellite. This is said to save billions of rupees that are currently being spent on broadband satellite links for telecommunication, broadcasts, and aviation.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 1984, assigned a geostationary orbital slot to Nepal, however, the insufficient traffic made it impracticable. The Government’s new telecommunication policy and a seemingly rise in connectivity has resulted in NTA’s interest in launching its own satellite.
Director of Nepal Telecommunication Authority, Mr. Min Prasad Aryal stated, “For the moment, we have asked for bids from companies that can advise us on specifications of a geostationary satellite provider, its business viability, as well as draw up a regulatory framework.”
A total of 9 companies from countries including China, India, France, Singapore, UAE, Germany, and the UK have reportedly submitted expressions of interest while the selection is said to be done on the basis of experience (50%), qualification (40%), technical and financial capacity (10%). The one selected for the project will also be suggesting the NTA whether to rent or launch its own satellite. Moreover, the company will formulate the bidding criteria required in order to build as well as launch a satellite within 2022.
Considering the current expense totaling near NPR 250 million just on satellite DTH links per annum, the project will allegedly save on the bandwidth rent alongside 50 other satellite telecommunication channels. However, the project is approximated to cost nothing less than NPR 35 billion on its own.
This is not the first time NTA is planning its satellite project though. Back in 2016, it did ask for a similar bid with 22 companies from 12 countries showed up with an expression of interest, all of which got canceled back then owing to the lack of the Government’s satellite policy. As soon as the Government of Nepal released its satellite policy in late September, NTA took no time whatsoever in issuing a bid again.
Mr. Sudhir Parajuli, Chairperson of Internet Service Providers’ Association Nepal (ISPAN) said, “Areas of Nepal that are not covered by telecommunication service like Karnali Province, Achham or Darchula can easily be connected to the internet. Television channels will benefit even more.” The satellite will even be applicable in industries and services that include civil aviation, radio, television.