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International airwaves roundup

Ireland’s Broadcasting Commission to award licenses for independent TV stations

September is the target month for Ireland’s Broadcasting Commission to award broadcast licenses to independent TV stations.

Stations will be located throughout Ireland, including Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Waterford and Meath. Nearly 50 groups have expressed interest in acquiring a television license.

South Korean amendment would hand DMB to government-owned broadcast networks

Private interests in South Korea have objected to a proposed amendment to the nation’s broadcast law that would grant a virtual monopoly to government-owned broadcasting networks over terrestrial digital multimedia broadcast (DMB).

An emerging technology, DMB service would allow cell phone and personal digital assistant (PDA) users to watch terrestrial digital television on their portable communications devices. Revenue estimates for DMB service in South Korea are $1.8 billion annually.

As written, the amendment under consideration would only allow government-owned broadcasters, such as KBS, MBC and EBS, to take part in the new service. However, other parties, including newspapers, news services and private industry, don’t wish to have the authority to deliver the new digital service restricted.

Hot Bird 7A to replace broadcast satellite lost during launch

Eutelsat has selected Alcatel Space to build the Hot Bird 7A communications satellite that will replace Hot Bird 7, which was lost during launch in December 2002.

In addition to the original satellite specifications, the new bird will provide backup capacity for Eutelsat’s orbital slot at 13 degrees East where there is an abundance of satellite television broadcast traffic.

Hot Bird 7A, to be built on the Alcatel Space Spacebuss 3000 B3 platform, is expected to launch in Fall 2005. It will be located with other Eutelsat Hot Bird satellites at the 13 degree East slot reaching 100 million homes. Currently 676 video channels and 565 audio channels are available from that slot.

Hot Bird 7A, which will have 38 Ku-band transponders, will replace Hot Bird 1.

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Indian parliament to take up communication bill

India’s parliament will soon consider the Communication Convergence Bill, which will set up a government regulator for broadcasters.

According to Information and Broadcasting Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, the bill will establish a single regulator to “promote, facilitate and develop” broadcast, multimedia and telecommunications carriage and communication.

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