Arabsat: “Considering adding LEO/MEO satellites”
Saudi Arabia-based Arabsat says that despite rapid recent and current expansion plans it will this year look closely at further potential developments into Low Earth Orbit or Mid-Earth Orbit spacecraft.
Other satellite operators, including SES (with O3b), and recent announcements from Intelsat (with OneWeb) and Canada’s Telesat, have all expressed their confidence in the role that LEO or MEO satellite could have in their fleets.
Arabsat seems to be no exception. Its CEO Khalid Balkheyour, speaking ahead of the CabSat event in Dubai, said Arabsat has expansion in mind, and not just in its traditional geostationary satellite role. “We have Request for Proposals (RFP) out now. The new RFP is for Arabsat 6D and is under evaluation now, and this will be new mission and be placed at 44.5 deg East, targeting data and it will be a high-throughput satellite for us and our partner (Taqnia Space of Saudi Arabia). It will hopefully launch by 2019,” added Balkheyour.
Mixed messages over Video’s prospects
There are some extremely confusing messages from equity analysts and researchers as to the overall prospects for the satellite industry in regard to DTH transmissions, and how soon those transmissions might be replaced by OTT ‘narrowcasters’.
For example, a recent report from Northern Sky Research (NSR) talks about satellite Video being “in a state of flux”, despite its traditional long-term contracts and capacity growth (seemingly) ever continuing. NSR’s recently released Linear TV via Satellite, 9th Edition report found that an additional 12,200 new channels will be broadcast in 2026 over 2016 levels on both DTH/DBS and Video Distribution. “However, growth will not be spread evenly across the regions, with significant variation in changes in channel counts between developed and under-developed regions; i.e. mature vs non-mature video markets.”
YahLive tops 300 channels
New capacity under consideration
Abu Dhabi-based YahLive is enjoying considerable success with both its established ‘East’ beam from its 52.5 deg East slot, and from its ‘West’ beam and in particular its new bouquet going to Maghreb viewers.
CEO Sami Boustany, talking exclusively to Inside Satellite TV, says: “We have now reached a critical mass, and we will shortly be releasing fresh research data which shows that we are now firmly placed as the Number 1 Farsi-language operator. Last year we wanted to try and do much the same, and bring together on one satellite all the channels going to the Maghreb. I can confirm that we now carrying more than 80 channels having added 50 channels in January, mostly private channels and mainly targeting Algeria.”