Doordarshan, the national broadcaster in India, at present has a network of more than 1400 transmitters spread throughout the country and its signals are available to about 90% (DD1) and 43% (DD-News) population of country. The prime duty of any national public service broadcaster is to make the programmes of national importance available to all its people and nationals. It was estimated that the coverage of remaining 10 % population with terrestrial (single channel) broadcast would cost enormously. Besides that, setting up of terrestrial transmitters in the uncovered areas would have taken a number of years (10 to 15 years). Also, operation of terrestrial transmission would have required a huge manpower (a few thousand persons).
With the fast developments taking place in Satellite Broadcasting, it is but natural that Doordarshan has also come up with an alternative to get the required reach with an alternate technology option “Ku-band broadcasting” which is envisaged for the coverage of remaining population. This is a much cheaper and economical option as compared to the coverage through Terrestrial transmitters.
Ku-band transmission will provide coverage in all uncovered areas including remote, border, tribal, hilly and inaccessible areas in one go within a short time. With this coverage, the national broadcaster proposes to meet its obligation of covering the whole nation and its people not only with national channels, but also make available popular Doordarshan and some other free-to-air channels on its platform. In order to meet its obligations, it has also been decided that 10,000 receive systems (Dish and Set Top Box) would be provided free of cost at public institutions like Anganwadis, Schools, Public Health Centres, Panchayats, Youth Clubs, Cooperative Societies etc. in the uncovered areas.
It may be pertinent to mention here that incidentally Doordarshan would be starting DTH service with Ku band broadcasting as not only uncovered areas are covered with its commencement, but also the whole country gets multi-channel service in one stroke. The signal will be available at each home directly without the use of any cable etc. and one will be able to receive the programmes with the help of a small Receive segment.
This platform has been named as DD DIRECT+
Presently the DD DIRECT+ is envisaged to telecast 50 free-to-air TV channels (containing both Doordarshan and private channels) Satellite Earth Station for uplink of signals has been setup at Delhi. Honorable Prime Minister of India inaugurated the service on 16/12/2004. The high power Ku-band transponders of Indian Satellite INSAT-4B at 93.5º E are being used for hosting the DD DIRECT+ services.