BTRC inks Tk 1,400cr deal with HSBC for satellite Bangabandhu

09 Sep 2016, 18:26


Dhaka: Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) on Friday struck a loan agreement of 157.5 million Euro (equivalent Taka 1,400 crore) with Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) for the financing of country's first ever satellite ‘Bangabandhu-I’.

BTRC Chairman Shahjahan Mahmood and HSBC Bangladesh Deputy Chief Executive Officer M Mahbub Ur Rahman put pen on the agreement paper at BTRC this afternoon.

State minister for posts and telecommunications Tarana Halim and France Ambassador to Bangladesh Sophie Aubert were present on the occasion.

Earlier on 11 November last year, the telecom regulator signed an agreement with ThalesAlenia Space, awarding the French firm work order for manufacturing and launching the commercial and broadcast satellite.

The government wants to launch the satellite, involving Taka 2,967.95 crore, on 16 December on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the country's victory.

Of the total cost, the government is providing Taka 1,315 crore from national exchequer while the remaining Taka 1,652.44 crore is being provided by bidder's financing.

Speaking about the agreement, BTRC Chairman said HSBC has provided fund with 1.51 percent interest rate which would be repaid with 20 instalments in 12 years.

He said the financing would cover several components of the satellite such as ground station, insurance and maintenance for three years after launching.

The ThalesAlenia Space will manufacture, launch, and maintain the satellite for providing communication and broadcast services.

Tarana Halim said after conquering the sea, now Bangladesh is going to conquer the space and it would be possible on 16 December 2017.

Terming the loan agreement as another milestone, the state minister said ‘we are working in phase by phase to attain the goal and the loan agreement has been inked following the law.’

Besides, French Ambassador Sophie Aubert said, one more stake being fulfilled and she hoped the work would be completed within expected time.

Officials familiar with the launching process said a satellite is sent into space on top of a rocket. Aimed at averting any kind of risk, Bangladesh has decided to keep ready a spare rocket for the launch that may increase the cost slightly.

Bangladesh will be the 54th country when the satellite would be launched into the orbital slot on 119.1 degree east longitude which (slot) was bought from Russian satellite company ‘Intersputnik’ for US$ 28 million last year.

The Bangabandhu satellite will have 40 transponders, which would be able to serve SAARC countries, Indonesia, and the Philippines, as well as countries such as Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. One transponder is equivalent to 36 MHz.

Under the project, two earth stations would be set up at Joydevpur in Gazipur and Betbunia in Rangamati apart from a satellite.

Bangladesh spends around US$ 14 million annually on satellite rents for running television channels, telephones and radio connectivity.

Once launched, the satellite would save around Taka 110 to Taka 120 crore annually in foreign currency as broadcasting expenditure.