VIA SATELLITE: How do you see markets like Spain and Portugal developing for satellite services?
Mateos: The European market has developed considerably over the last few years, with new TV services associated to DTH platforms and with the incorporation of HD and 3-D channels. Of course, the transition being carried out in European countries, among which Spain is a pioneering country, from analog TV to digital television, which relies on satellites as the ideal transport network to feed the land relay stations, is particularly noteworthy. Markets such as Spain and Portugal still have a long way to go in terms of growth over the next few years in TV and Internet applications with the launch of more HD and 3-D channels and the development of the Internet supply in rural areas so that the whole population will be connected regardless of geographic area they happen to be in. In this context, and with regard to Europe, Hispasat has the competitive advantage of providing the best technical capabilities on the Iberian Peninsula and the islands both within Spain and Portugal. This has put us in the lead — far ahead of other European satellite fleets — in the numbers of DTH digital service platforms around the Iberian Peninsula. We are providing space capacity to the Portugal Telecom pay-TV platform. This has meant that Hispasat has become the only European satellite operator to broadcast the three DTH platforms on the Iberian Peninsula.
There have also been some spectacular developments in Eastern European countries, mainly due to their having joined the European Union, which has meant that the financial support has been provided for rolling out telecommunications infrastructures as well as the appearance of new DTH platforms and the distribution of ethnic channels to other regions or continents. The launch of our last satellite, Hispasat 1E, in December 2010, allows the company to present the most competitive services in this region, increasing our capacity and making this a target market for our short- and medium-term growth.
VIA SATELLITE: How does the business plan and growth of Hisdesat affect the operations of Hispasat?
Mateos: Through the company Hisdesat, Servicios Estratégicos, the Hispasat Group backed the development of X- and Ka-band satellite communications program for governmental use, which currently includes two next generation satellites, Spainsat and Xtar-Eur, the first one at the transatlantic 30 degrees West orbital position and the second one at the Eastern 29 degrees East position. In addition to meeting the communications needs of several Spanish public organizations related to security and defense, the Spainsat and Xtar-Eur satellites also provide communications services to governments of both allied and friendly countries. The combined coverage offered by both satellites reaches two-thirds of the Earth’s surface, from Denver to Singapore. Since 2008, Hisdesat has been developing the Spanish National Earth Observation Plan, integrated by the Paz and Ingenio satellites with radar and optical technology, respectively, which will provide customers with images and new services designed to map the Earth’s surface and alert on natural disasters, among other purposes. The expansion of Hisdesat activities in the field of secure satellite communications will be possible thanks to the new Hisnorsat satellite, a communications satellite in X and Ka-bands developed together with the Norwegian Ministry of Defense. Hisdesat will also offer new products and services related to the AIS (Automatic Identification System) for real-time tracking of marine traffic.