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Azerbaijan Clears Debt to U.S. Bank

ICT Minister Ali Abbasov says Baku has cleared its debts to U.S. Ex-Im Bank over its first satellite program.

He explained that Azerbaijan took some $17 million from the bank as part of a program to set up its first telecommunications satellite, Azerspace/Africasat-1a, which was launched a year ago.

According to the minister, Azerbaijan's income has reached about $10 million since the start of the commercial operation of the satellite.

"Parts of the debts were cleared by the money gained from the satellite and other parts by the funds allocated by the government in the State Budget," he said.

He went on adding that, this year, income from the satellite would be used to repay other debts and loans related with its construction. By 2015 the satellite will reach the breakeven point.

Azerbaijan has signed a $116.6 million agreement with the French bank "BNP Paribas" to finance the construction of Azerspace-1 satellite. Meanwhile, the country has signed a $90 million agreement with French export credit agency COFACE to construct a rocket carrier.

The government has invested about $250 million in implementation of a project for the satellite launch.

Azerbaijan's revenues from the first satellite during the next 15 years are expected to reach $650 million. The revenues are supposed to be spent on technological development of the country.

The first national satellite is aimed at offering digital broadcasting services, providing internet access to Azerbaijani users, facilitating data transmission, creating multiservice VSAT networks, and providing the governmental with communication channels across Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia and North Africa.

Currently, Azerbaijani space agency "Azercosmos" has sold over 50 percent of satellite resources. Azerbaijan's domestic demand for the satellite capacity is estimated at 20 percent.

Over 70 TV and radio channels are broadcasted via the satellite, 19 of which are local. TV channels are currently broadcasting both standard and live programs via the satellite.

The TV content is available when satellite antennas configure with 11,169 MHz frequency, 20,400 speed, Horizontal and FEC - 5/6 polarization.

After the launch of Azerspace-1, Azerbaijan became the third country in the CIS and the only one in the region that owns its own satellite. However, the country is determined to have more satellites in the near future.

Launching of the second telecommunications satellite Azerspace-2 is scheduled for 2017. Meanwhile, in 2015, the country is planning to launch a low earth orbit satellite.

Source: AzerNews

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