The government of Laos and a Chinese business group are set to sign an agreement to invest in a satellite business joint venture in Laos, aiming to launch a satellite into orbit in the next 40 months.
The agreement, expected to be signed in the first quarter of 2010, is the result of a memorandum of
understanding (MoU) on cooperation in a satellite broadcasting and telecommunication system construction and business operation project in
Laos, signed in late 2009 between the Lao National Authority for Science and Technology and the China Asia-Pacific Mobile Communications Company Limited(China-APMT). The project is expected to cost about $250 millions for the construction of the satellite, which will be done by China-APMT and funded by loans from the Chinese government. Both parties have set a goal of putting the satellite into orbit 40 months after the signing of the agreement, in another word - by the third quarter of 2013.
As part of the agreement, a ground control station will be built in Vientiane, while tracking and transmission stations will be constructed in some northern, central, and southern provinces to make sure that satellite signals reach every part of the country as well as linking it with the rest of the world.
Laos' first ever satellite, which will be launched into orbit by the Chinese company with a commission period of 15 years, will not only enable it to transmit its broadcasting signals throughout the country but also link its information and telecommunication system with the rest of the world at high speed, especially with its partners in the ASEAN grouping, which has set a goal of developing itself into a truly integrated international community by 2015.
Laos currently has 35 radio stations and 2 TV stations, with its radio signals covering only 80%, and TV signals 60%, of the country.