Cambodian communications satellite project underway
Cambodia is once more in the process of securing its own communications satellite. The Telecom Regulator of Cambodia (TRC) is aiming to have one in orbit by 2021. The estimated cost of the project is 150 million USD.
Kith Meng’s conglomerate, Royal Group is partnering with the China Great Wall Industry Corporation, a state-owned Chinese corporation. China Great Wall Industry Corporation had previously partnered with Laos for a satellite launch in 2015. The two companies are tasked with completing a feasibility study which will serve as the basis for the government’s decision-making.
This push for the launch of a communications satellite by 2021 began last December. Prime Minister Hun Sen had requested the Royal Group to partner with foreign corporations to make a launch possible. He stated that “Providing affordable high-speed internet access for Cambodia’s unconnected population is a huge challenge and a big investment, but it can be done.”
This is not the first attempt by the Cambodian government for a satellite launch. In 2011, concessions were already awarded for a launch, the project, however, never came to fruition.
Im Vutha, spokesperson for the TRC stated that it would be a major milestone for the country’s communications industry.
“It will take a lot of time – seven years by international standards.” “But this company said they may take three years only because they have experience with Laos already,” said Vutha.
The new satellite is seen to boost Cambodia’s capability in implementing enhancements to disaster management systems, e-government, and national security services. The satellite is also critical in the government’s target to provide urban localities with 100% broadband access and rural areas with 70% access.
The investment in satellite technology is seen to augment the fiber-optic and submarine cables launched March this year, to improve broadband access throughout the Kingdom.
The Ministry of Post and Telecommunications stated that “Connectivity via satellite is one of the prioritized projects in the Telecom Policy (2015 -2020)”