Asian ISPs eye 40G bps satellite

A new satellite to be launched towards the end of next year to carry Internet traffic can offer bandwidth at just 10 percent of the cost of conventional satellite systems, Thai company Shin Satellite PLC said Friday at the CommunicAsia show.

The Ipstar broadband satellite will deliver 40G bps (bits per second) of capacity from its position in geosynchronous orbit, using new antenna designs to enable multiple beams for the increased capacity, around 20 times that of previous satellites, Shin executives said at the show.

Shin expects its customers will mainly be ISPs (Internet service providers) who will resell Internet access to companies, public facilities such as airports and multiple-occupancy residential buildings.

The Ipstar system will offer dedicated Internet access at up to 512K bps download and 128K bps upload. Shared access can reach 2M bps download and 512K bps upload, Shin said.

Shin has already signed contracts to deploy Ipstar services with Malaysian company BayCom Sdn. Bhd., Shanghai VSAT Network Systems Co., Ltd in China, Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd.(VSNL) in India and Thai companies SiamSat and Samart Telcom. The National Education Network of Thailand has signed an agreement to use Ipstar technology to connect 40,000 schools nationwide by 2005, Shin said.

Ipstar will also support VPNs (virtual private networks), videoconferencing and voice traffic, the company said.

Several developing countries in Asia have signaled their intent to extend Internet access to all their citizens, including those living in remote or mountainous areas. Often, these plans have been delayed by the high cost of providing cable links, especially in countries such as Indonesia or the Philippines which encompass several thousand islands.

Last month, Shin signed a deal with Myanmar's Bagan Cybertech IDC & Teleport, which will deploy an Ipstar system to provide rural telephony services to 3,000 villages. This system will use an already-launched satellite and begin service in the fourth-quarter of this year, Shin said.

The satellite will be launched by Arianespace from its launch site in Kourou, French Guiana, in late 2003, with service via the satellite expected to begin in early 2004.

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