Arabsat plans four satellites in five years

(OSAMA ABUGHANIM)   



The Arab Satellite Communication Organisation (Arabsat) has plans to launch four satellites into the space over the next five years. 

 

“The launch of the new satellites will strengthen the organisation’s position in the Arab broadcasting space and sustain the quality of broadcasting services that we offer to all our customers in a market, that is heating up with fierce competition,” Arabsat President and Chairman Khalid Balkheyour told Emirates Business  at the International Electronic Media and Satellite Communications Exhibition, Cabsat 2008, in Dubai. 

 

Arabsat currently operates four satellites, of which it owns three and leases one.


Bader 6, the first satellite, will be launched in June, 5A by the end of 2009, Bader 5 by the first quarter of 2010 and 5C in 2011. “But Bader 5 will be a fully dedicated in-orbit backup in case anything wrong goes.” 

 

Balkheyour said the aim of such launches is expansion, back-up and replacement of old satellites to bring them up-to-date with latest technology. “Last year, we  signed a contract for our fifth generation programme of two satellites with all ground facilities for in-orbit use at $500 million (Dh1.83bn),” added Balkheyour.

 

“We have other services besides broadcasting such internet, vSat and telecommunication services for the Arab world and this is financed by in-house funds.”

 

Balkheyour added that Arabsat also plans to launch the KA band, which is a different frequency from KU and CU, that would serve broadcasting services by the end of 2009 on the 5A satellite. This will offer our clients much better services in broadband telephony, internet and news gathering.”

 

He said Arabsat currently has more than 350  subscribed TV satellite networks, that broadcast across the Arab world and it expects the number to rise over the coming years.  

Saudi-based Arabsat was established in 1976 by member states of the Arab League to serve the different Arab communities in information, culture, education and telecommunications sectors.

 

Audiences in the Arab world receive their TV broadcasting mainly via Arabsat, Egypt-based Nilesat and HotBird, which comprises a set of satellites, that is operated by France-based Eutelsat.

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