COMMUNICASIA : SingTel scans regional market from space

Pursuing its goal of becoming a regional telecommunications and Internet service provider, Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) signed a deal Wednesday with Norwegian satellite services provider Nera ASA for the supply of two-way satellite broadband systems.

The Nera SatLink System is a two-way satellite network based on the Digital Video Broadcasting- Return Channel via Satellite (DVB-RCS) standard. DVB-RCS is used by service providers to offer broadband access and multimedia services, content distribution and rural telephony and Internet services.

A particular focus for SingTel is the growing regional market for online distance learning, Nera officials said at the CommunicAsia show here Friday.

The system could also help SingTel provide robust services for multinational corporations with remote offices in several Asian countries, some of whose telecommunications systems may be less developed.

With a Nera satellite dish and terminal, each branch office can have the latest news and information reliably distributed to it, without having to rely on the presence of local fixed-line networks, Nera said.

Nera systems can be used for TV and radio broadcasting, broadband Internet access and Voice over IP services, the company said.

SingTel is a shareholder in several satellites covering Asia, including its own ST-1 satellite, the Hong Kong-owned Apstar V and the Optus C1 satellite launched by SingTel’s Australian subsidiary SingTel Optus Pty. Ltd.

The convenience of linking disparate sites through satellite links was a key reason for Bergen, Norway-based Nera winning a US$6.5 million contract to supply a similar system to Telecom Fiji Ltd. in 2003. The South Pacific nation consists of 333 islands, the major areas of which are now linked by a Nera DVB-RCS SatLink system.

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