On 12 March, Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) signed a legal contract with French satelliteoperator Thales Alenia Space to build Nepal’s first satellite. The Nepalese government plans to use the satellite to provide nationwide internet access to their citizens, improve disaster management efforts and strengthen economic growth in the country.
The development of Nepal’s own satellite system proves to be significant in terms of improving the country’s disaster management efforts. Nepal is usually faces natural disasters such as the droughts, floods, landslides, fires, and storms along with earthquake because of its high-seismicity. The mountainous landscape contributes to the challenges to strengthening the country’s transportation and utilities industry. Just recently, one of UN-SPIDER’s Regional Support Offices, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), published the first assessment of the Hindu Kush Himalaya region, which had been written by over 300 researchers, experts and then policymakers.
The official agreement between Thales Alenia Space and NTA is expected to be signed in the forthcoming month. The agreement was drafted in response to negotiations between Nepal and then France concerning Nepal’s make an effort to establish a national communication satellite. Nepal’s Minister for Communication and Information Technology, Gokul Prasad Baskota , and the Secretary to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, signed a letter of intent on 5 March in Paris.
The French government will increase their financial and technical support for Nepal in establishing the latter’s national satellite project. This consists of helping with materializing plans to operate and manage Nepal’s satellite in the orbital slot allotted by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Based on Head of the Security Printing division under the Ministry of Information and Communications , Bikal Poudel , Nepal hasn’t been able to construct its own satellite project because of shortage of required technical and economical help.
The high-performance C and Ku Band satellite, which will certainly be named by Nepal, is going to be launched by 2022 and positioned at orbital slot
Nepal does not have any domestic satellite operator however is covered by regional satellite operators of other Asian countries such as Thaicom of Thailand or Malaysia’s Measat. With the eventual launch of the satellite system, NTA targets to offer a chance to access high-speed internet and to advancements in value-added services such as telemedicine, TV broadcasting, tourism, hydropower and disaster management.
“To successfully compete with other countries, to provide high speed internet to all our citizens and to be recognized regionally, we would like Nepal to expedite its pace on the way to digitization,” Minister for Communication and Information Technology of Nepal Gokul Prasad Baskota mentioned. “No one must be left behind on this path. Our National Satellite will help us jump into a better future.”
Numerous Asian countries have entered the market of establishing national satellites. Lao People’s Democratic Republic launched their first satellite in 2015 and Bangladesh sent Bangabandhu-1, also built by Thales Alenia Space, into orbit last April.