Cable & Wireless Optus (CWO) is launching a new satellite that it says will deliver direct-to-home TV and internet services, telephony and high bandwidth data communications.
The $500 million C1 series satellite, to be launched in the first quarter of 2002, is expected to deliver the majority of Australia's satellite services. Selective satellite coverage will also stretch as far as Hawaii and China.
CWO hopes the C1 will ensure the strength of its satellite business "for years to come", according to the company's chief executive, Chris Anderson.
"The dedication that we have to the satellite business is the difference between Cable & Wireless Optus and our competitors," Anderson said.
The C1 satellite will be one of the largest communications satellites launched outside of the US and one of the first hybrid military and commercial satellites launched in the world, according to Bill Hope, CWO's chief technical officer.
CWO, who will begin marketing the satellite early next year, expects corporate clients and commercial businesses, such as those providing Pay-TV and internet services, to purchase most of the space on the C1.
The Department of Defence, who will use half of the satellite, has already agreed to contracts worth $340 million for the supply and support of new satellite communications capabilities to be supplied through the C1.
The Australian Defence Satellite Communications Capability (ADSCC) will include an ADF-owned communications payload aboard the C1, plus associated ground-based infrastructure for the control and management of the ADF payload.
The C1, with an estimated life span of 15 years, will be launched by Arianespace on an Ariane rocket from French Guyana. Arianespace successfully launched the Optus A3 satellite in 1987.
The Mitsubishi Electric Company (MELCO) will act as the prime contractor and will develop the communications payload, while Space Systems/Loral will build and test the satellite and integrate it with the payload.