Israel has signalled its intention to fight for a share of the regional television market by announcing plans to launch a $200 million satellite to beam to homes and businesses over a 750,000-square-kilometre area. The satellite, called Amos 1, will be launched by the French-made Ariane rocket in November 1995 on behalf of Spacecom, a joint venture between several Israeli firms including Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) .
The satellite, manufactured by IAI with Deutsche Aerospace and France’s Alcatel, will operate in the powerful Ku band frequency and will be beamed to customers equipped with 60-centimetre dishes. Spacecom is conducting negotiations with Israeli and Arab companies as well as the US’ CNN and France’s Canal Plus to lease space segments in Amos’ seven transponders.
Amos 1 will relay video, voice and data and its services will concentrate on Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Turkey and the Gulf.
‘I hope times are changing and the Arab states will allow an Israeli satellite to be beamed into their countries,’ says Avraham Ziv-Tal, Spacecom’s director of marketing. He denies the satellite will compete with the Riyadh- based Arab Satellite Communications Organisation (Arabsat). ‘They do not use the same frequencies or offer the same services,’ he says.