State-owned national PTO Nepal Telecom (NT) plans to set up an earth station service to direct-to-home (DTH) operators, The Kathmandu Post reports. NT is understood to be working on a scheme to set up a shared DTH hub in the capital Kathmandu, with the full-blown service coming on line within six months. The telco is looking to invest USD2.75 million in the hub station. ‘The NT board has asked us to prepare the specifications for leasing satellite transponders,’ confirmed Birendra Prasad Pradhan, manager of the NT’s satellite service directorate. The former monopoly’s decision comes in the wake of announcements by two other DTH operators, Satellite Nepal and Dish Media Network, that they are at the final stage of start services under the brand names ‘Home TV’ and ‘Dish Nepal’, respectively. The communications ministry has granted permission for up to nine firms to operate DTH in the country but they face stiff competition from cablecos which are adding high quality digital channels to their portfolios. NT aims to offer hub services to between three or four DTH operators and with an estimated two million TV households in Nepal, local industry watchers believe the new DTH providers each need to garner a subscriber base of at least 150,000 if they are to survive.