ZDNet — E-commerce giant Alibaba and government-owned China North Industries Group Corporation–also known as Norinco Group–launched Qianxun Positioning Network, a satellite positioning service provider, in Shanghai on August 18, 2015. Qianxun, which literally means “to quest for a thousand times”, has a registered capital of 2 billion yuan ($313 million) and is equally owned by both of its parent companies, according to a statement issued by Norinco Group on Tuesday.
Telecom Asia — ITU has deployed emergency satellite phones and other communications equipment to Myanmar in the wake of severe flooding that has affected over 1 million people. The UN agency has sent gear including Iridium satellite phones, Inmarsat satellite terminals and laptops to support rescue and relief coordination efforts.
IT News — Samsung Electronics has proposed a ‘space internet’ network consisting of 4600 micro-satellites that could act as backhaul for terrestrial cellular networks and bring low-cost internet to “everyone in the world”. The proposal is contained in an academic research paper by Farooq Khan – president of Samsung R&D America – and marks the latest entrant in the internet democratisation race.
Times of India — COLOMBO: Free Wi-Fi connections will be available across Sri Lanka by March 2016 under an agreement the government signed on Tuesday with multinational technology company Google, a media report said. The service will be provided with the aid of Google balloon, a technology which provides internet to large areas using high-altitude balloons, Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror reported.
IT News — Global satellite operator SpeedCast has snapped up both of NewSat’s Australian teleport sites as the failed local company looks to dispose of its assets and pay down debt after being forced in receivership in April. In a $12 million deal, SpeedCast will take over NewSat’s Perth and Adelaide teleports, including all land, buildings and equipment, plus “most” of its existing customer contracts.
Want China Times — Increased collaboration between Belgium and China in the field of satellite technology can put both nations “at the forefront” of delivering vital information globally, according to Belgium’s State Secretary of Science Policy Elke Sleurs. A Memorandum of Understanding between the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO) and China National Space Administration (CNSA) in the field of space science, technologies and applications was signed in Beijing on Tuesday.
Times of India — LONDON: In a bid to provide affordable internet access to all, Bharti has acquired a minority stake in OneWeb, which plans to offer communication services using satellites by 2019. OneWeb has received $500 million for the project from its investors and plans to launch services by 2019. OneWeb, founded in 2012, is building a communication network with an initial constellation of 648 low earth orbit satellites. Investors in the company include Qualcomm Inc, Virgin Group, Airbus Group and Coca-Cola Company.
The chief executive and chief financial officer of struggling satellite company NewSat were ousted this week as the company tries to sell off its assets following ongoing financial troubles. The positions held by NewSat CEO Adrian Ballintine and CFO Mark Spragg had been rendered “surplus to NewSat’s needs”, the company’s administrators said today. They revealed Ballintine had been made redundant last Friday and Spragg let go yesterday. Ballintine founded NewSat in 1987 and had been its CEO since 1999.
Faltering satellite company NewSat has suffered another blow after a United States bankruptcy court sided with Lockheed Martin and cancelled the pair’s contract to build the $600 million Jabiru-1 satellite. NewSat’s administrators PBB Advisory could not provide absolute certainty that the Australian satellite company would succeed with refinancing, leading to the bankruptcy court in Delaware to rescind the Lockheed contract.
Satellite broadband is an option for people who live in rural areas where traditional fixed-line internet services aren’t available. It uses a satellite dish to provide two-way access, and connectivity speeds, which used to be lower, have improved. Download speeds via satellite hookup can now even reach up to 20 megabytes per second. In the US, people who live on farms, or well outside major cities, sometimes resort to satellite internet because fixed-line options don’t make sense.
In Beijing’s newly released comprehensive industrial development program titled “Made In China 2025,” work will be accelerated in the promotion of space infrastructure construction, and the development of new types of satellites and an air-and-space broadband internet systems so that the country can develop the ability to provide constant and stable services in terms of satellite remote sensing, telecommunications and navigation.
Indonesian satellite service provider BigNet announced today that it signed a US$78 million, long-term agreement with Singapore-based Kacific Broadband Satellites. The goal is to bring a new form of high-speed broadband service to Indonesia starting in 2017. Kacific aims to beam signals from its satellites to cover the entire archipelago, with emphasis on providing good quality, affordable internet to developing areas in East Indonesia.
A government research bureau has suggested a new levy on Australia’s biggest telcos to help fund the satellite and wireless components of the national broadband network. In its response to the Vertigan review last December, the federal government said it would task a newly-formed research group within the Department of Communications with looking into alternate ways to fund the rollout of the NBN to unprofitable regional and remote areas.
The first of Inmarsat’s high-capacity GlobalXpress satellites is being used in Nepal after the country was hit by an earthquake and ahead of a global launch for the technology set for later this year, the company said. “We were able to rush terminals into Nepal, and the feedback from that has been great,” chief executive Rupert Pearce said following release of the British satellite maker’s first-quarter earnings.
Vietnam has been using GPS (Global Positioning System), a space-based satellite navigation system created by the US government. If the negotiations succeed and Russia can place Glonass, a GPS-like system, in Vietnam and three other countries, Cuba, Nicaragua and China, this will benefit Vietnamese users because it offers more choices for them. Dr. Doan Minh Chung, head of the Institute of Space Technology Institute, said so when asked if Vietnam could get any benefits from the placement of the satellite in the country.
The national broadband network builder is proposing to charge service providers for instances when end-users miss appointments, make late cancellations or want to reactivate their service. NBN today released a list of proposed charges for the LTS – which is scheduled to launch commercially in the second quarter of next year – as part of industry consultation on the fees. A $15 reactivation fee will be charged to cover the cost of each individual reactivation.
Australian satellite company NewSat has been placed into court-appointed administration in a bid to save its $600 million flailing Jabiru-1 satellite project. NewSat’s secured creditors today appointed PPB Advisory as administrators and McGrathNicol as receivers. Both have been tasked with taking control of NewSat’s assets, urgently assessing its financial position and progressing recently commenced capital raising activities as an immediate priority.
Over the past few years, China’s largest tech companies – Tencent, Alibaba, etc. – have been on a massive investment kick. For example, in 2014 Alibaba invested in everything from maps to apps to soccer teams, and Tencent bought into a litany of new industries including virtual reality and film production. And individually, China’s wealthiest tech CEOs – guys like Lei Jun and Jack Ma – have also been splashing a lot of cash over the past few years. But there’s one area they haven’t really touched: space.
NewSat’s Jabiru-1 satellite project is facing potential collapse after one of the company’s lenders pulled its financial support. The company has been battling to get the project off the ground for the past year after it revealed that financing had been put on hold over “alleged technical or documentary breaches of financial facilities” related to the drawdown of its loan from Ever Tycoon. Debt funding from its US and French financiers was to recommence after NewSat met a number of conditions for a waiver of the breaches.
NewSat has been forced to halt trading on the Australian Stock Exchange as it continues to battle to have funding for its Jabiru-1 satellite project reinstated. The company revealed mid-last year that financing for the satellite project had been put on hold over “alleged technical or documentary breaches of financial facilities” related to the drawdown of its loan from Ever Tycoon.