India will now face competition for the first time as Bangladesh launches its first communication satellite today using an upgraded version of the Falcon-9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Centre, Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA. The geostationary satellite, named Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman after the country’s founding father, weighs over 3500 kilograms and will carry 40 Ku and C-band transponders which will help in direct-to-home transmission and provide V-sat services to Bangladesh and its neighbouring countries. This will include phone, backhaul, radio, direct-to-home TV and Internet services.
The satellite, which has cost the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission USD 250 million, was made by Thales Alenia.
Positioned at 119.1 Degrees East, the system will provide Ku-band coverage for Bangladesh and its territorial waters in the Bay of Bengal, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Indonesia.
A statement from Thales Alena said: “Once the Bangabandhu satellite-1 is operational, Bangladesh will be autonomous in terms of telecommunications and broadcasting services, being able to offer communications services to many foreign countries such as Nepal, Myanmar or Bhutan under its coverage area.”
So far, India has been reigning in that space by offering satellite-based services where none were available to its smaller neighbours. Bangladesh’s launch is likely to start a price war in the region.