Broadcasting ‘independence’ of Qatar to boost after Es’hail II

February 10, 2014 - 6:42:56 am

Ali Ahmed Al Kuwari, Chief Executive Officer, Es'hailsat, (right) with John Celli, President, SSL, during the press conference yesterday. Abdul Basit

DOHA: Qatar will achieve more broadcasting independence when Es’hail II, the country’s second satellite, is launched by 2016 or early 2017.

“I believe with Es’hail 1 we can achieve partial independence for some of our local stakeholders. Definitely with Eshail 2, we will have more independence by having more capacity, more security and more features in the future,” Ali Ahmed Al Kuwari, Chief Executive Officer, Es’hailsat, the Qatar Satellite Company, told a press conference yesterday.

Al Kuwari was speaking prior to a reception to celebrate the start of service of Es’hail 1.

“Es’hail 1 is operated by Eutelsat, however, we still have control centre like the capacity management centre for quality monitoring for our customers. But Es’hail 2 will be fully operated from Doha,” he said.

“Es’hail 2 will have more capacity and local, regional channels and global channels. The process has started and it will be launched by end of 2016 or early 2017.”

Es’hail 1 was launched on August 29 last year and following a series of in-orbit tests and manoeuvres, the satellite officially entered service on Qatar National Day last year. It will help meet the rapidly growing communications needs in the region and is Es’hailSat’s first step towards becoming a centre of excellence in the region, developing a sustainable national satellite industry, and contributing to the success of Qatar Nation Vision 2030.

Es’hail 1 is an SSL 1300 satellite — a decades-proven, modular platform with high power capability and flexibility for a broad range of applications. With its features, Al Kuwari said Es’hail 1 is the best satellite in the region. 

“We are trying to differentiate ourselves from our competitors by having quality service and offering features like what we are doing with Es’hail 1,” he said.

Es’hail 1 was a product of teamwork between world leading satellite manufacturer SSL and Es’hailSat. The partnership included the provision of an intensive two-year satellite engineering internship which helped train four Qatari engineers to become the country’s first satellite operator engineers. Under SSL’s guidance, they followed Es’hail 1 through design, manufacture, test and launch. 

John Celli, President of SSL said: “On behalf of SSL I would like to congratulate Es’hailSat and the four Es’hailSat internship graduates on the commencement of service of Es’hail 1. It has been an honour for SSL to team with Es’hailSat to help build a satellite industry for Qatar that adds a new dimension to the country’s diversifying economy.”

“The entry into service of Es’hail 1 on National Day, marked an important achievement in providing Qatar with broadcasting independence, quality service and wide geographical coverage for video, enterprise and government communications. SSL, with over 55 years’ experience and 2,000 satellite years on orbit has become an important partner for the Es’haiiSat programme. 

We would like to thank them for their valuable contributions in the provision of our first satellite and empowering local Qataris to develop their understanding of all aspects of the technical and commercial satellite industry,” said Al Kuwari. 

The reception at Grand Hyatt Doha was attended by the Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Dr Hessa Sultan Al Jaber, US Ambassador Susan L Ziadeh and senior executives from satellite operators and service providers in the Mena region. 

The Peninsula