VIA SATELLITE: How are you looking to develop the space industry in Azerbaijan?
Nabiyev: Within the framework of the activities undertaken in order to implement the State Program on Creation of Space Industry, specific activities are currently under way to launch the Azerspace-1 satellite as envisaged, towards the end of 2012. Azercosmos plans to launch a second satellite, Azerspace-2, in 2015, which will expand Azerbaijan’s satellite capacity further.
At the same time, Azerbaijan looks forward to launching its other telecommunication satellites and kick off an independent remote sensing program. Our remote sensing program alone will have three operational satellites. I believe a total of at least six satellites within less than a decade is very good proof of the significance given to the advancement of space industry at the highest possible level. In addition to these, we also plan to launch Low-Earth-orbiting satellites, as well as several optical and radar satellites during the upcoming decade.
VIA SATELLITE: What role do you see satellite playing in your overall communications infrastructure?
Nabiyev: Satellite is already playing a part in the delivery of communications in Azerbaijan, for international and long distance communications and also for radio and TV broadcasting in the region. In many cases, satellite presents the only alternative to existing fiber-optic cable networks and Azerbaijan is using satellite for transmission of large volumes of information both within the country and on a transmit basis to other countries.
The country’s radio, TV and telecommunication companies are currently leasing capacity from various satellite operators. The geographic nature of the region has prompted great interest in the potential of satellite communications systems. Since almost 60 percent of the country is covered by mountains, it is difficult or impossible to extend fiber-optic to the population resident in these mountainous areas. Therefore, satellite-based communications technologies can provide an effective communications solution both for these inaccessible territories and meet the rising demand for satellite services in the future.
VIA SATELLITE: What will you be using the capacity on the satellite for? How much capacity is needed?
Nabiyev: The satellite capacity is supposed to be used for all the traditional telecommunication satellite purposes, such as broadcasting and telecommunication satellite services (BSS: TV- Radio, FSS-Internet, Telephony, VSAT, etc.). Satellite networks and communications systems will make it possible to deliver VSAT related services and solutions such as telemedicine, distance learning and two-way tracking as well as remote connectivity such as provision of satellite GSM backhaul services for corporate and government customers to provide telecommunication services in remote areas.
It will also help provide disaster recovery services such as a provision for corporate and government customers’ business activities that rely on IT technologies and Satellite News Gathering (SNG) so that broadcasting operators can connect remote news gathering TV crews directly back to their TV studios without the need for terrestrial networks.
Azerbaijan is going to use only a quarter of the Azerspace-1 capacity, while the rest will be available for leasing. Capacity leasing will provide a guaranteed capacity on a 24/7 basis for extended periods of time on C- and Ku-band transponders. There will also be opportunities of offering flexible capacity leasing for specific customer requirements including new service introduction, disaster recovery or service back-up on C- and Ku-band transponders and occasional usage to provide broadcasters with satellite capacity for limited duration transmission at a short-notice.
VIA SATELLITE: How do you view the potential for satellite broadband in Azerbaijan?
Nabiyev: Azerbaijan has a national broadband plan to increase connectivity throughout the country. Presently, the “Strategy on Development of Broadband Internet Services” is being implemented. The activities carried out at present to further develop the wireless broadband networks allow us to state that the broadband network services will develop even faster in the Internet services market.
We believe that as satellite communication continues its expansion, Ka-band technology can fulfill an important role in providing telecommunication infrastructure for rural and remote areas. For this reason, we are seriously considering having Ka-band in our second satellite.