KABUL’s first satellite – AFGHANSAT 1 — was formally launched on Saturday, with officials expecting a $15 million addition to the government’s annual revenue.
Eutelsat Communications (NYSE Euronext Paris: ETL), one of the world’s leading satellite operators, and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) had signed a memorandum of understanding to the effect in February 2014.
First Vice-President Mohammad Younus Qanuni, addressing the inaugural ceremony, called the launch a great achievement in Afghanistan’s history. He said it would cover all provinces and some regional countries as well.
He added: “The launch of the satellite will not only help improve the quality of media but will also boost government revenue.”
Ministers of Communications and Information Technology Amirzai Sangin said they paid $4 million to Eutelsat annually but the income of the satellite would add $15 million to the country’s income.
He added the satellite was launched into space in 2008, with each spacecraft having 15 years operational ability. The Eutelsat Company has assured the MCIT the AFGHANSAT 1 should work for at least seven more years, Sangin added.
The AFGHANSAT 1 is capable of meeting Afghanistan’s communication needs and a second satellite ‘AFGHANSAT-2’ would be launched in the coming seven years.
Sangin continued the AFGHANSAT 1 would cover all urban and remote areas of the country and improve the quality of media broadcasts besides enhancing communications among government organs.
“Now Afghans can install a small dish antenna to get access to all TV and radio channels across Afghanistan and central Asian countries,” Sangin said.