Azerbaijani IT Minister: Regional Capacity Demand Set to Quadruple

[Satellite TODAY Insider 03-05-12] Azerbaijani Communication and Information Technologies Minister Ali Abbasov predicts that demand for satellite capacity is set to quadruple in the region, according to a March 2 public statement.

   Orbital Sciences is currently assembling Azerbaijan’s Azerspace/Africasat-1A satellite based on its Star-2 Bus platform with 36 transponders that will operate to provide high quality broadcasting to Eastern Europe, North African regions, Caucasus countries and the Middle East. The satellite, protected by encryption technologies, also was designed as an ideal platform for electronic health, disaster response and telecommunication services. Honeywell International and Moog are acting as Orbital’s technology partners.
   Abbasov said that qualitative radio broadcasting, IP, virtual private networks and other data services will saturate the region after the launch of its national satellite. The minister added that Azerbaijan’s television and radio broadcasting services currently spend a considerable amount of money renting capacity from different satellites.
   “Taking into account the fact that more than 50 percent of the country is mountainous territory and that there is a possibility for a more efficient organization of a regional satellite communication system, I think that demand for these types of services will rise four-fold in future,” said Abbasov. “I think that launch of a geostationary satellite owned by Azerbaijan will be great contribution to the country’s economy.”
   In June, the U.S. Export-Import Bank (U.S. Ex-Im) unveiled the conditions of its financing agreement with the Azerbaijan government for the production of Azerspace/Africasat-1A. The U.S. Ex-Im Bank endorsed a $116.6 million grant with a 10-year repayment period. The New York-based branch of BNP-Paribas applied for financing. Azercosmos OJS Co. is acting as borrower and buyer with guarantees from the Azerbaijani Ministry of Finance.
   Arianespace will launch the country’s first communications satellite on an Ariane 5 rocket by the end of 2012 from the European Spaceport in French Guiana.
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