Some four months after first being launched into space, Qatar’s first telecommunications satellite Es’hail 1 has begun broadcasting television channels to home consumers.
The first offerings of the satellite, which technically came online Oct. 31, are Al Jazeera Media Network’s suite of channels. Those launched with a Dec. 18 broadcast that coincided with Qatar’s National Day:
The Downlink frequency for AJMN is :
Polarization HORIZONTAL Symbol Rate 27500
— Es'hailSat (@eshailsat) December 17, 2013
Yesterday, Es’hailSat – the company operating the Es’hail 1, which is co-owned EutelSat Communications – announced on its Facebook page that it is sponsoring the upcoming Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2014, and that it plans to broadcast the tennis tournament in high-definition video from Dec. 30, 2013 to Jan. 5, 2014. Details of what channel it would be available on, though, were not available.
The Qatari-operated satellite was launched into space on Aug. 29 from the European Spaceport at Kourou in French Guiana, and is meant to offer more HD broadcast capacity to the Middle East and the broader Arab World.
Some analysts say it’s also meant to directly compete with the Egypt-controlled NileSat, which has been accused of blocking Al Jazeera broadcasts.
The company has also previously stated that the satellite would help meet the broadband and TV broadcast needs required to host the 2022 World Cup.
The launch of Qatar’s second satellite is also in the works, with Es’hailSat announcing plans to have it up by the end of 2016. The goal is to give back-up capacity to Eshail 1, which navigates at 25.5 degrees east, and allow it to extend the range of services offered.