Developments in Commercial Middle Eastern Satellite Communications
By Bruce Elbert, President, Application Technology Strategy, Inc.
Markets for satellite communications equipment and services have expanded to fill the gaps in terrestrial broadcasting and telecommunications networks. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Middle East, which is the focus of this article. Comprising this picture are satellite operators, such as Arabsat and Nilesat; teleport operators in particular countries such as Dubai, Egypt and Jordan; and service providers who utilize these facilities to deliver applications to their Middle Eastern customers. An example of the latter would be companies that provide Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) services in a two way satellite communications format that use a particularly small dish (70 cm to 1.2 m) to transmit low bandwidth data such as credit card transactions and provide medium data rate Internet services. Satellite TV is a very important service for the region as it occupies most of the available satellite transponders in the region.