Gov’t yet to float DTH TV tender

Media: The government is yet to float a tender inviting local companies or individuals interested in supplying DTH TV (direct-to-home television) to Bhutan.

The government was considering this move in January after it found out that DTH supplying companies based in Jaigoan were able to include the BBS channel in their packages albeit illegally.

Information and communications secretary, Dasho Kinley Dorji said that while a tender has not been floated a number of developments had occurred since then.

Dasho Kinley Dorji said the Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority had written to its Indian counterpart, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), to investigate the Indian companies that have been illegally downlinking and uplinking BBS.

However, Dasho Kinley Dorji said that the companies in Jaigaon have denied to TRAI they are including the BBS channel.

Dasho said that the ministry has also written to BBS. He pointed out that it is a complex problem as the BBS channel is being “stolen” by illegal service providers and being beamed into the rural areas.

“Therefore we need to do something about it urgently,” he said.

The government has been attempting to legalise DTH TV for the past five years.

An initial attempt to partner with an Indian licensed operator, Bharti Airtel, did not get anywhere given lengthy bureaucratic procedures required.

The government partnered with Bharti Airtel, which was then required to partner with another company called Greycell. Greycell would downlink BBS in India and then uplink it back to Bhutan in a Bharti Airtel package. However, Greycell was not able to acquire the required permit to downlink BBS into India for the past four years.

The government’s discovery that companies in Jaigoan are directly able to include BBS in their DTH packages given technological advances since 2010, has provided it with an alternative solution to legalising a local DTH operator.

It is yet to be determined if only one or many companies or individuals will be licensed to provide DTH TV.

Gyalsten K Dorji

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