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TV satellite taxing technicians

Published: 6:47PM Tuesday November 14, 2006 Source: One News

New Zealand's forthcoming satellite digital signal will be coming from a brand new satellite that is causing a few headaches.

It appears the Optus D1 satellite has not been configured properly and engineers are scrambling to fix the problem.

Launched last month, the satellite carries with it New Zealand's digital television future.

Sky is D1's biggest user, with TVNZ, TV3, the new Freeview service and most Australian networks also depending on it.

But during in-orbit testing, technicians discovered a manufacturing mistake.

The D1 satellite needs to be configured so that its signal, from space, covers all of New Zealand.

But there has been a mix up and New Zealand's co-ordinates are set to Australia's specifications.

Tony Dunnett of Auckland Teleport says his understanding is the vertical transponder set for New Zealand is now horizontal and the horizontal transponder set for Australia is now vertical.

The Australian owners of the satellite, Optus, admit a fault has been picked up during testing.

They say it will not affect their capacity to service their customers and they will work with individual clients to sort out the configuration issue.

Dunnett says he doesn't know if the problem is fixable.

"They may be able to put a bandaid on it. Unfortunately when its 22,000 miles away you can hardly call the AA to fix it."