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Thread: News 20.05.2007

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    Default News 20.05.2007

    Modulus Video provides MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding compression systems to satellite, broadcast, and cable operators.

    Motorola is adding a key piece to its strategy for creating and delivering integrated, end-to-end video delivery systems across multiple network architectures by acquiring Modulus Video Inc., a provider of MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding compression systems.

    Announced Thursday, the acquisition will complement its recent acquisitions of Broadbus, Kreatal, Tut Systems, and Netopia, Motorola said. Terms of the deal were not revealed.

    Modulus systems are used to deliver video content in the IPTV, cable, broadcast, and satellite markets. The startup firm has been working with Motorola for two years delivering encoding applications to customers globally.

    "As consumers demand more high definition video and interactive services, the need for advanced compression technology is increasingly important," said Dan Moloney, president of Motorola's Home and Networks Mobility unit, adding that the Modulus technology is well-suited for continuing technological advancement.

    Modulus has followed a comprehensive strategy of supplying scalable standard- and high-definition video products to satellite, broadcast and cable operators.

    Founded in 2002, Modulus has developed a software-centric platform that enables IPTV broadcasters to use the MPEG-4 AVC video compression standard.
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    Those backing the legislation want to make sure that Internet, satellite, cable radio, jukeboxes, and traditional radio pay the same rates for playing songs.

    The U.S. Senate has introduced a bill to overturn the Copyright Royalty Board's decision to raise royalty rates for streaming music online.

    Senators Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat and Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican, introduced the "Internet Radio Equality Act of 2007" last week. The bill is a companion to similar legislation introduced in the House just over two weeks ago.

    According to Neilson Media Resarch, 70 million Americans listen to online music stations every month. Those backing the congressional legislation want to make sure that Internet, satellite, cable radio, jukeboxes, and traditional radio pay the same rates for playing songs.

    The copyright board increased royalty rates for streaming online music, mandating a retroactive rate of US$0.0008 per song for 2006, up from US$0.0007 in 2005. The ruling, announced March 2, set gradual increases to $0.0019 per song by 2010. It also requires a US$500 per-station fee and eliminates an existing option of paying based on a percentage of revenue.

    Digital media representatives claim that the rate structure changes amount to increases up to 300 per cent for large operations and up to 1,200 per cent for smaller ones.

    SoundExchange, which represents record labels and artists, said the proposed legislation would "gut the fair market rates."

    John Simson, executive director of SoundExchange, argues that the bill would require take tens of millions of dollars from artists to benefit large corporate webcasters.

    Free Press Associate Policy Director Frannie Wellings disagrees.

    "The CRB ignored massive public outcry to push forward this disastrous royalty rate hike," she said in a prepared statement.

    "The new rates fail to distinguish noncommercial webcasting as a unique service and create an unmanageable rate-hike for everyone streaming music online - noncommercial webcasters, small upstarts and even the largest commercial companies.

    This bill recognises that nonprofit webcasters like NPR should not be forced to pay so much money that they actually fear an increase in their listenership. And it sets a reasonable, balanced rate for everyone."
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    Far Cry developer shifts away from first person shooters.

    Crytek, the independent German game developer behind Far Cry, has begun work on a new title which is being kept "top secret".

    The game will be based on the company's CryEngine 2 platform, which underpins the Crysis first person shooter.

    Crytek announced the elevation of its satellite offices in Kiev to full development studio status as the next step in the company's growth.

    "Our Kiev studio has been recruiting and growing for the past year and a half. The highly talented team has undergone an intensive training period, and has made an invaluable contribution to our production in Frankfurt," said Crytek managing director Faruk Yerli.

    Yerli also hinted that the game to be developed in Kiev will be the first to move away from Crytek's tried and tested first person shooter model and into new territory.

    "Now that our CryEngine 2 middleware has reached the point of maturity where it can be used to support different types and styles of games, and run on multiple platforms, we thought it was the optimum time to begin work on a new project based on our own new and original intellectual property, and elevate the Kiev operation to full studio status," he said, suggesting that the company will also start releasing console versions of future games.
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    A huge €37.6m (A$611.3m) worth of R&D pumped into Alcatel-Lucent-led project.

    The European Commission has authorised €37.6m (A$611.3m) in aid from the French Agence de l'Innovation Industrielle towards funding Télévision Mobile Sans Limite, a mobile TV research and development project.

    Télévision Mobile Sans Limite (Unlimited Mobile TV) will combine satellite and terrestrial TV networks to broadcast TV on mobile phones, but will be available in France only.

    The project was started in 2006 with the aim of completing sometime in 2009 at a cost of €98.4m (A$159.9m). It involves 11 partners headed by Alcatel-Lucent.

    "This research and development project will benefit European consumers by broadening mobile television supply in Europe," said EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

    "The only regret I have is that, unlike its forerunners financed by the Commission, this collaboration does not extend beyond the frontiers of France."

    The Unlimited Mobile TV project seeks to develop a new mobile television broadcasting solution working in the 'S' band at the 2.2GHz frequency.

    This will differ from conventional mobile TV in the number of channels it will be able to broadcast, its reception quality, including inside buildings, and its geographical coverage.

    By using a satellite it will be possible, for example, to reach non-urban areas and thus offer a new service to European consumers.

    The solution will also incorporate a crisis management service which will enable national authorities to alert the population quickly in the event of major disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, terrorist attacks, pollution incidents and nuclear accidents.

    Similar technology is already available in Japan and South Korea, but cannot be employed in Europe without creating problems with frequency planning.

    Mindful of the regulatory problems in Europe, the Commission decided on 14 February 2007 to harmonise use of the radio spectrum in the 2GHz frequency band for the implementation of systems providing mobile satellite services.

    Analysis carried out by the Commission showed that aid was needed to tackle market deficiencies which are hampering the speedy establishment of structured co-ordination between manufacturers of satellites, terrestrial network infrastructures, mobile telephones and semiconductors.

    The research found that, because the European markets for mobile television are still emerging, they do not generate spontaneously the partnerships needed to bring about unlimited mobile TV.
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    The technology is there, but the business model is lacking.

    Companies working on internet television are complaining that the technology is ready, but the industry is being held back by studios and established content distributors.

    Despite mounting evidence that consumers are ready to start watching television on their computers, there are very few deployments.

    This is not down to technology, according to industry insiders, but a problem with the studios which create the content.

    "There is very old thinking in terms of letting out the rights to films and programmes," said Joe Cantwell, vice president of Starz Entertainment.

    "It is a real fight to get rights. The big obstacle is not consumers but the studios that are holding things back."

    Consumers are gradually warming to IPTV, although very few are using their computers as the primary source of watching programmes. However, faster hardware and more advanced broadband is changing this perception.

    "Think back a few years to when people were watching in low resolution," said Chris Larsen, consumer notebooks marketing manager at HP.

    "It was not that great and was not worth it when you could watch programmes directly on a huge TV. HD is changing that. Most laptops have a better resolution than a TV these days."

    One reason for the delay in studio acceptance of IPTV rights is the radical changes it will cause in the range of broadcasting.

    Paul Shen, chief executive at TVU Networks, expects the new technology to cause dramatic changes.

    "Over 50 years of TV you have gone from local terrestrial broadcasting to cable and then satellite. But with broadband you have a global audience and unlimited capacity," he said.

    "Today, if you want to create a US cable channel, good luck because the spectrum is full. But with IP any broadcaster can delver to any audience."

    Studios may have to change their tune sooner rather than later, according to Rex Wong, chief executive at Dave TV, because the new medium means that anyone can be a broadcaster and reach anyone with an internet connection.

    "Content providers do not have to use broadcasters any more, and a lot of broadcasters are just aggregators anyway," he said.
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    3D maps include London, Rome and Berlin.

    Dutch mapping company Tele Atlas is to include more than 50 three-dimensional maps of European cities, including London, Rome and Berlin, in its latest navigation packages.

    The company hopes eventually to offer more than 2,000 square kilometres of land in 3D.

    Tele Atlas provides the maps used by satellite navigation makers such as TomTom and Route 66, and signed a deal last week to provide maps for Garmin navigation devices.

    The company claims that the 3D content will make it easier for users to orient themselves in an unfamiliar city by matching the areas around them to the 3D renderings.

    "3D digital maps deliver a navigation experience that is even more tangible and realistic," said Basak Ozer, vice president of global product marketing at Tele Atlas.

    The company expects to make the first European 3D city models available in July, followed by US and Asian cities later in the year. Tele Atlas currently offers 3D models only for major landmarks in Europe.

    Tele Atlas' chief competitor, US-based Navteq, introduced 3D city models and landmarks in March.
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    By 2011, 50.8 million PC-TV tuners will be sold worldwide, generating US$3.1 billion in revenue, according to research firm In-Stat..

    Microsoft's introduction of Windows Vista for consumers this year is expected to help drive the PC-TV tuner market, a research firm said Monday.

    Among the Microsoft initiatives positioning the OS for TV programming is the software maker's push to get PC-TV tuner vendors to centralise their drivers through the Windows Update program, according to the report from market analyst firm In-Stat.

    "The most common PC-TV tuner will enable digital terrestrial television reception and be integrated with the PC as part of a Microsoft Vista bundle," In-Stat analyst Chris Kissel said in a statement.

    Tuners that won't be part of the Vista bundle, but will still have a portion of the market, include hybrid USB TV tuners, PC-TV tuners for free-to-air satellite TV services, and pay-TV capable tuners.

    By 2011, 50.8 million PC-TV tuners will be sold worldwide, generating US$3.1 billion in revenue, In-Stat predicts. Nearly 37 percent of all PC-TV tuner revenue will come from end users in Europe, and 32 percent from those in Asia.

    Market researcher IDC predicts that shipments of PCs with a media-focused operating environment and hardware, such as a TV tuner and remote control, will reach 27.5 million units worldwide by 2010, including 9.5 million in the United States. The market value is expected to reach US$29.4 billion globally and US$12.6 billion in the United States, according to IDC.

    The success of the PC as the entertainment hub for the home will depend on the amount of content that's pushed to consumers. Movie studios are moving slowly to the Internet and have only recently started offering some new films for download the same day they're released on DVD. The vast majority of films, however, aren't available for download to a PC.
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    Nasa and the British National Space Centre head for the final frontier.

    Nasa and the British National Space Centre have signed an historic agreement to jointly study how the two space agencies might work together on future planetary explorations to the Moon and beyond.

    The organisations will study specific areas of potential collaboration between the UK and US involving lunar science and exploration.

    UK Science and Innovation Minister Malcolm Wicks said: "During my recent meeting with Nasa administrator Dr Michael Griffin, I was keen for the US and UK to co-operate on exactly this sort of exciting endeavour.

    "I am delighted that this important agreement has been signed between our two space agencies which could provide an opportunity to harness the UK's world-class expertise in small satellite and robotic technologies."

    The UK space sector is worth Ł4.8bn (A$11bn) a year, and supports 70,000 jobs. It makes an overall annual contribution of Ł7bn (A$16bn) to the UK GDP.

    The joint agreement was signed in Washington and marks the successful conclusion of several meetings on potential collaboration.
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    Physicist correct about bending of space-time.

    Analysis of data from a Nasa satellite has proved at least one of the predictions in Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity.

    Nasa's Gravity Probe B satellite was launched in April 2004 carrying four ultra-precise gyroscopes to directly measure two effects predicted in Einstein's theory.

    One of these is the geodetic effect, the amount by which the mass of the Earth warps the local space-time in which it resides. The other, called frame-dragging, is the amount by which the Earth drags local space-time around with it.

    After poring over the results for 18 months researchers at Stanford University have declared the first of Einstein's predictions to be correct, as the data from the gyroscopes confirms the geodetic effect to a precision of better than one per cent.

    "Gravity Probe B has been a great scientific adventure for all of us, and we are grateful to Nasa for its long history of support," said Professor Francis Everitt, a Stanford University physicist and principal investigator of the GP-B Relativity Mission.

    "It is fascinating to be able to watch the Einstein warping of space-time directly in the tilting of these GP-B gyroscopes, more than a million times better than the best inertial navigation gyroscopes."

    According to Einstein's theory, the geodetic warping of Earth's local space-time over the course of a year causes the spin axes of each gyroscope to shift from their initial alignment by an angle of 6.606 arc-seconds (0.0018 degrees) in the plane of the spacecraft's orbit.

    Likewise, the twisting of Earth's local space-time causes the spin axis to shift by an even smaller angle of 0.039 arc-seconds (0.000011 degrees), about the width of a human hair viewed from a quarter of a mile away, in the plane of the Earth's equator.

    Researchers are still collating data regarding the frame-dragging effect. Although the GP-B instrument has ample resolution to measure the frame-dragging effect precisely, the effect is 170 times smaller than the geodetic effect.

    The team has discovered that small torque and sensor effects must be accurately modelled and removed from the result.

    "We anticipate that it will take about eight more months of detailed data analysis to realise the full accuracy of the instrument and to reduce the measurement uncertainty from the 0.1 to 0.05 arc-seconds per year that we've achieved to date down to the expected final accuracy of better than 0.005 arc-seconds per year," said William Bencze, GP-B programme manager.

    "Understanding the details of this science data is a bit like an archaeological dig. A scientist starts with a bulldozer, follows with a shovel, and then finally uses dental picks and toothbrushes to clear the dust away from the treasure. We are passing out the toothbrushes now."

    The experiment's final result is expected on completion of the data analysis this December.

    Asked for his final comment, Everitt said: "Always be suspicious of the news you want to hear."
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    Google continues media push with Clear Channel deal.

    Google has reached an agreement with broadcaster Clear Channel Radio to power the stations' radio ads.

    The deal will give Google the ability to broker ads for over 675 radio stations with its Google Audio Ads system. The 30-second advertising spots will be offered to retailers through Google's AdSense program. The commercials will then be delivered directly to the stations through their content management software.

    Both Google and Clear Channel hope that the new system will open the doors for online advertisers that had not previously considered radio advertising or had been unable to advertise in other local markets outside of their own.

    The move also marks the second expansion of Google's advertising platform in as many weeks. The search company earlier this month agreed to sell ads on the DISH Network satellite TV system through AdSense.

    Google has been trying to move into the radio advertising business since January of 2006. Online advertising has always been the backbone of Google's business model, accounting for virtually all of the company's US$10.6b in revenue last year. Expanding to radio and TV advertising offers a way to diversity the company's revenue stream.

    Clear Channel is the largest radio company in the United States, claiming over 110 million listeners. The company also operates TV stations and billboards throughout the country, which will not be part of the Google program.
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    Entertainment giant teams up with Pathfire.

    Warner Bros has teamed up with digital content distributor Pathfire to create an end-to-end high-definition content distribution network.

    Under the terms of the deal, Warner Bros will deliver HD syndication via Pathfire's Digital Media Gateway network of servers. The partnership has already delivered programming to WSB-TV in Atlanta.

    The delivery used the existing Pathfire infrastructure to enable the satellite delivery of the programming.

    The strictly file-based process enables stations to benefit from a streamlined workflow by cutting the time and hands required to get a programme ready for air.

    Pathfire enables native integration into play-to-air servers, as well as providing transcoding to either 1080i or 720p to match a station's infrastructure.

    To develop the platform, content providers, content distributors and broadcast groups have provided Pathfire with technical guidance.

    Sterling Davis, vice president of engineering at Cox Television and Cox Radio, said: "File-based delivery of all content types brings us closer to our group-wide vision of digital ingest and processing of content throughout all production areas of our stations."
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    The Europe Union (EU) will take over the troubled Galileo satellite navigation project from the private sector, a decision that could cost the EU a staggering $12 billion before the 30 satellite constellation becomes operational after 2013.

    At what turned out to be a very brief meeting, the EU approved the recommendation of Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot that the EU take charge of Galileo, Europe’s challenge to the U.S.’ dominant Global Positioning System (GPS). The European Commission (EC) will later on appoint an operator to run the system. A full meeting of EU ministers on June 8 will make a final decision.

    Barrot, who in March sounded the alarm about the perils of further delaying Galileo, said EU member states wanted a return on their investment, which could reach $12 billion compared to the initial estimate of $2.7 billion. The latter amount is in addition to the $2 billion allocated to Galileo by the EC from 2007-2013. Barrot believes Galileo could be worth as much as $607 billion by 2025.

    An EU take over of Galileo was one of three options—and the one with the strongest backing—Barrot presented during the crucial meeting that will decide the fate of the controversial rival to the U.S.’ GPS run by the U.S. Air Force. Other options on the table included partially financing Galileo with public money or abandoning the project completely. The UK and Denmark are opposed to further funding Galileo.

    Analysts say the move to take Galileo public betrays a growing resentment at the private sector consortium charged with creating Galileo. Organized two years ago, the consortium consisting of EADS, France's Thales and Alcatel-Lucent, British company Inmarsat, Italy's Finmeccanica, AENA and Hispasat of Spain and a German group that includes Deutsche Telekom and the German Aerospace Center has since made little progress in getting Galileo up and running.

    And a few weeks ago, according to Barrot, the EU received new demands from the consortium. One EU official said the consortium wanted more time, more money and more public guarantees. The new conditions guaranteed the consortium members did not meet its May 10 deadline to work out their differences and get Galileo going.

    Galileo is a satellite navigation system that will consist of 30 satellites intended to be operational by 2013. A joint initiative of the EU and the European Space Agency, Galileo will be the first global navigation satellite system geared to civil-user needs offering continuity and guaranteed services. The Galileo program is being carried out in three phases: definition, development and in-orbit validation, and full deployment and operations

    The complete constellation will eventually offer European citizens and institutional users state-of-the-art global positioning and timing services with outstanding accuracy, availability, integrity and a guaranteed signal.

    There were originally to be 30 Galileo satellites in place by 2010 but the timeline for Galileo to be fully operational was moved to 2011-2012. The EU fears that China could launch its own satnav system called Compass before Galileo is fully operational. Russia is also improving its Glonass global satellite navigation fleet and will have new spacecraft in orbit by the end of this year.

    Last March, the EU gave the Galileo consortium until May 10 to incorporate the Galileo operating company and appoint its chief executive officer or else it “will undertake to explore alternatives for delivering the project”.

    In a letter to the companies involved in the project and to the current German presidency of the 27-member European Union, Barrot rang the alarm bell about the mounting delays in Galileo's implementation.

    “I consider that the delay so far accumulated and the absence of any sign of progress on the negotiation of the concession contract must now be considered as risk for the delivery of the project in the timeline that we envisaged. Moreover, we have to fear significant cost increases which could go well beyond the foreseen budget,” Barrot said.

    If the private sector is not able to reach these deadlines, Barrot expects "the Council to provide the (European) Commission with a clear political mandate to review the situation".

    "I do not exclude that we may have to revisit some fundamental aspects of our earlier assumptions and approach. A number of options are available for such alternatives and I would not want to exclude any of them at this stage. My objective is to ensure excellence, value for money, affordability and avoid further delays as much as possible," Barrot added.

    Negotiations to set up a consortium have been suspended as the companies involved are at loggerheads over sharing development costs, and the projects profitability, said some sources. They also have not yet established a joint head office or appointed a chief executive of the industry network.

    Galileo’s development phase received a much needed boost early this month when the in-orbit GIOVE-A (Galileo In-Orbit Validation Element) satellite, successfully transmitted its first navigation message. This message contained the information needed by user receivers to calculate their position using Galileo. GIOVE-A is the first Galileo satellite and while only a demonstration, its data is an important step along the path to a fully operational system.
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    Telesat Canada has reached an agreement with information solutions provider MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates, Ltd (MDA) to operate MDA's Radarsat-2 for the lifetime of the satellite. This will be the first Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite and the first non-communications satellite placed under Telesat's control.

    Telesat will provide pre-operational and satellite operation services for MDA's Radarsat-2 satellite, which will be positioned in a sun-synchronous polar orbit with a mean altitude of 798 kilometers. In addition to the eight satellites in its own fleet, Telesat operates another seven satellites for customers including XM Satellite Radio and Mobile Satellite Ventures.

    Radarsat-2 is the world's most advanced commercial C-band SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) satellite and heralds a new era in satellite performance, imaging flexibility and choice of products and service offerings.

    The Radarsat-2 program ensures the continuation of the original Radarsat program, and the development of Canada's Earth Observation business sector. The satellite will be capable of image resolution ranging from three to 100 meters. Radarsat-2 will also be the first commercial radar satellite to offer multi-polarization capability that will aid in identifying a variety of surface features and objects.

    MDA is the prime contractor of Radarsat-2 for the Canadian Space Agency. As a public-private partnership, on launch, MDA will become the owner and assume responsibility for the operation of this highly advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite. In return for its investment in Radarsat-2, the Canadian Space Agency will administer a $445 million data allocation fund reserved for the government of Canada and agency user community.

    "This contract aptly demonstrates the company's extensive expertise in space technologies," said Dan Goldberg, President and CEO of Telesat. "While Telesat is primarily associated with the provision of telecommunications and broadcasting services, the company is also a widely recognized authority in consulting services, research and development, and satellite operations."

    "We needed a dependable organization that could provide 24/7 support at a cost-effective rate," said Mag Iskander, executive vice president at MDA. "Telesat has been successfully flying satellites for 35 years, and we are delighted they will operate Radarsat-2."

    MDA provides advanced information solutions that capture and process vast amounts of data, produce essential information, and improve the decision making and operational performance of business and government organizations worldwide.

    Headquartered in Ottawa, Telesat Canada is one of the world's pioneers in satellite communications and systems management. Created in 1969, the company made history three years later with the launch of Anik A1, the world's first domestic communications satellite in geostationary orbit operated by a commercial company.

    Telesat operates a fleet of satellites that provide broadcast distribution and telecommunications services, and is a highly respected consultant and partner in satellite ventures around the world. Telesat has offices throughout Canada, in the United States and in Brazil.

    On December 16, 2006, Telesat's parent company, BCE Inc., agreed to sell the satellite operator for $3.25 billion, net of debt, to a new acquisition company formed by Canada's Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments) and Loral Space & Communications Inc. (Loral). As part of the agreement between PSP and Loral, Loral will contribute its fixed satellite services and network services assets to the new acquisition company, which will become the fourth largest satellite operator in the world. Applications for the change of ownership of Telesat have been filed with the appropriate regulatory authorities.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Mobile satellite services provider Globalstar, Inc. (Nasdaq: GSAT) has entered into a strategic alliance with Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (SingTel), one of Asia's leading communications groups, to expand their services in Southeast Asia’s burgeoning maritime and logistics industries.

    As part of the alliance, SingTel will construct and operate a Globalstar gateway ground station at its Seletar Satellite earth Station facility in Singapore. The ground station will expand Globalstar's satellite coverage throughout Singapore and Malaysia, as well as parts of Indonesia, Brunei, and the surrounding Southeast Asian maritime shipping region.

    The agreement is the initial step needed for Globalstar to offer service with SingTel via the Seletar Earth Station. Globalstar will provide the necessary engineering and technical training support required for SingTel to operate the station. In addition, the agreement paves the way for both companies to deliver tracking and trace solutions for the maritime and logistics industries, using the Globalstar Simplex data network. SingTel is also in discussion with Globalstar concerning the possibility of constructing a second satellite gateway within the region.

    "All of us at Globalstar are extremely excited about this new relationship with SingTel and we anticipate this is simply the beginning of a long relationship that will bring our mobile satellite data services to the region," said Tony Navarra, president of Globalstar’s global operations.

    Navarra noted this agreement is part of an overall strategic sales and marketing alliance. Southeast Asia is one of the world's fastest growing economic regions and the Strait of Malacca is one of the world's most important shipping lanes.

    “Because of the heavy maritime traffic, the region is particularly suited to Globalstar's ability to provide voice, data and asset tracking and monitoring services beyond the reach of traditional land based wireless infrastructure. Globalstar provides a wide variety of services to maritime customers throughout much of the world and together with SingTel, it looks forward to expanding its market and providing those same services throughout much of Southeast Asia.”

    "We are delighted that Globalstar has chosen SingTel to manage and to operate its gateway in Southeast Asia," said Titus Yong, Head of SingTel Satellite. "This reflects the confidence that global satellite operators have in SingTel as an experienced and leading communications company in Asia. We look forward to supporting and enhancing the connectivity provided by Globalstar services in the region.

    SingTel serves both the corporate and consumer markets, and is committed to bringing global communications to customers in the Asia Pacific and beyond. With significant operations in Singapore and Australia (through wholly-owned subsidiary SingTel Optus), the group provides a comprehensive portfolio of services that include voice and data services over fixed, wireless and Internet platforms. In Australia, Optus serves more than six million customers.

    The group's other major investments in the region include Advanced Info Service of Thailand, the Bharti Telecom Group of India, Globe Telecom of the Philippines, PBTL of Bangladesh and Telkomsel of Indonesia. Together with its regional partners, SingTel is Asia's largest multi-market mobile operator, serving more than 100 million customers in seven markets.
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    Mobile Satellite Ventures LP and joint venture partner Mobile Satellite Ventures (Canada) has contracted ILS International Launch Services, Inc. to launch in 2009 of one of two high-powered, next-generation satellites designed to provide seamless, transparent and ubiquitous broadband wireless coverage of North and Central America to consumer electronic devices.

    ILS plans to launch the MSV spacecraft on a Proton/Breeze M vehicle from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Proton/Breeze M vehicle is manufactured by ILS' Russian partner, Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center. The Proton vehicle has carried out 325 missions for the Russian government and commercial customers for more than 40 years. The ILS agreement is for a single firm launch and includes an option for a second launch.

    MSV's satellites, under construction by The Boeing Company, will operate in geostationary orbit over North America from 101 degrees and 107.3 degrees west. The satellites feature 22-meter diameter, elliptical mesh reflectors that will support L-band communication with conventional handsets through a network based on MSV's patented ancillary terrestrial component technology.

    MSV is developing a hybrid satellite-terrestrial communications network, which it expects will provide seamless, transparent and ubiquitous wireless coverage of the United States and Canada to conventional handsets. MSV holds the first FCC license to provide hybrid satellite-terrestrial services. MSV plans to launch two satellites for coverage of the United States and Canada, which are expected to be among the largest and most powerful commercial satellites ever built. When completed, the network is expected to support communications in a variety of areas including public safety, homeland security, aviation, transportation and entertainment, by providing a platform for interoperable, user-friendly and feature-rich voice and high-speed data services.

    "This launch will usher in a new era in integrated satellite-terrestrial communications where consumers throughout North America can enjoy broadband services at lower costs per bit with the flexibility to support a range of custom IP applications," said Alexander H. Good, MSV vice chairman, chief executive officer and president. "We have teamed with a world-class provider who combined a fair price and program flexibility, allowing us to deliver ahead of our regulatory milestones."

    "Mobile Satellite Ventures is introducing exciting new mobile services in the Americas," said ILS president Frank McKenna. "ILS is proud to have been selected by MSV to initiate its business expansion by providing Proton launch services. MSV is a new and important customer for us, and we hope to build this relationship into a long-term partnership based on our record of outstanding performance and customer focus."

    MSV satellites MSAT-1 and MSAT-2 deliver mobile wireless voice and data services to 200,000 units primarily for public safety, security, fleet management and asset tracking in the U.S. and Canada. MSV is majority owned and controlled by SkyTerra Communications, Inc. (OTCBB:SKYT).

    ILS is a joint venture of Space Transport Inc., Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center and RSC Energia of Moscow. ILS is incorporated in Delaware McLean, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C.
    Salut Prieteni!


 

 

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