Thu, Sep 30, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Broadcasters must reach out to Asia, firm urges

By Yu-Tzu Chiu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan's broadcasters should take advantage of satellite technology in order to bolster the nation's cultural influence in Asia where there is a market for Mandarin-language programs, satellite launcher Arianespace said yesterday.

At a press conference held yesterday, Richard Bowles, Arianespace's representative director for ASEAN countries, said that Taiwan has potential to make significant headway into the greater Mandarin-language television market. By taking advantage of satellite broadcasting technology, Southeast Asia should be a profitable region for Taiwan's Mandarin-language programs development, Bowles said. Created in 1980, Arianespace is an influential European commercial launch service supported by 44 European shareholders from 12 countries, was contracted to provide launch services for several commercial satellites.

"We are free and happy to share our launch service with any Taiwanese operator in the future," Bowles said. Bowles also said that his firm has been gradually shifting its focus from the telecommunication satellites to the satellite broadcasting industry. Arianespace has launched 134 telecommunication satellites of the 236 in orbit today, accounting for 60 percent. Arianespace's rockets take off from French Guiana, whose location is just 5 degrees north of the equator, which is ideal for a geostationary satellite launch.

In Asia, the firm provided sent 49 satellites into space for 16 operators. However, Arianespace has never done business with China, which has its own service. In 1998, Arianespace provided the launch service for a commercial telecommunications satellite, the ST-1, whose project was a joint venture between Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) and Singapore Telecom.

Representatives of Arianespace yesterday also met with Taiwanese officials from the National Science Program Office (NSPO), exchanging up-to-date information on the feasibility of such a project.

Most satellite projects developed by Taiwan are scientific research. Such satellites are relatively smaller than telecommunications satellites and circle the Earth at a lower orbit. For example, the mission orbit for ROCSAT-2 launched in May this year is 891km above the planet.

NSPO director Lance Wu (吳作樂) yesterday told the Taipei Times that it was too early to discuss the possible cooperation between his office and Arianespace.

One of NSPO's processing projects, called the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate (COSMIC) will begin with the launch of the ROCSAT-3 satellite at the end of next year. The international collaboration between Taiwan and the US will use an integration of six remote sensing microsatellites to collect atmospheric data to monitor weather patterns, the ionosphere and climate and gravity research. It will be launched by US Orbital Sciences Corp from a launch pad California.

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