I am outraged that Grandpa Zheng had the nerve to suggest I was a member of the Roman Catholic Church in yesterday's issue of this so-called newsletter (SCN.) That allegation was perfectly understandable despite his rudimentary knowledge of English. Let me assure you that I am not a Roman Catholic, I've never been a Roman Catholic, and besides I've never been involved in any Roman Catholic practices.
I really don't approve of the luscious links he offered you anyway. Here's your only gateway to good, clean fun on the World Wide Web:
Readers of this SCN will have noticed the frequent appearance of low-Earth orbit satellites, radio satellites and commercial spy satellites. If you want some more serious advice, here it is.
In a newly released in-depth report on the Global Satellite Industry, Merrill Lynch informs investors that in the coming year at least four new services will be initiated: global satellite telephony (Big LEOs), global satellite data (Little LEOs), satellite radio, and 1-meter satellite imaging.
"Over the last twelve months, the global satellite industry has shown strong growth and produced outstanding returns," states Thomas Watts, Vice President, Merrill Lynch U.S. Fundamental Equity Research, who projects industry revenues will grow over the next decade at an annual rate of 17%. "The challenge for 1998/99 will be to continue to meet investors' current expectations while fulfilling the industry's dreams of meeting mass market demands."
Merrill Lynch forecasts the satellite industry's revenues to climb from an estimated US$38 billion in 1997 to US$171 billion in 2007. This steady growth is expected to be driven by the dramatic expansion of satellite television (DTH), mobile satellite telephony (MSS) and all that trendy multimedia stuff.
In his report, Mr. Watts outlines for investors ten key satellite developments that are expected to take place in the next year. Among them are increased usage of Direct Satellite Television after three years of disappointing linear growth and the emergence of other mass market services such as Internet access and broadcast radio.
It's also no surprise that space access costs will increase owing to new low cost launch vehicles, which also is closely related to the development of many smaller niche opportunities such as satellite mobile data, and satellite imaging. It's also well-known that major satellite players such as Intelsat, Inmarsat and Eutelsat are partly going to be privatised.
The most interesting point may be this: "award of major contracts ... could re-align the satellite manufacturing industry."
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The U.S. Intelsat signatory Comsat Corporation was, as expected, deregulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the major markets of its largest business unit, Comsat World Systems. This action deregulates services which account for approximately 85-90% of this unit's revenues.
According to a company press release, the action liberates Comsat from utility-style earnings regulation, and finally allows Comsat to compete on a more equal footing with other international telecommunications and satellite companies.
The FCC also eliminated the long-standing structural separation regulations previously applied to Comsat World Systems, which provides service via Intelsat satellites. In addition, Comsat's customers will benefit from a streamlined, one-day FCC process for making price and service changes.
During the FCC's consideration of Comsat's petition, some telecommunications carriers requested that the FCC allow direct access to the Intelsat system. The FCC has decided to address these requests in a separate, future proceeding.
Comsat President and Chief Executive Officer Betty C. Alewine commented that "the FCC has studied direct access several times previously, and each time concluded that it would not promote competition or lower prices, and was not in the public interest. [The] deregulation announcement indicates that Comsat derives no monopoly power simply by virtue of its exclusive access to Intelsat. Therefore, we anticipate a further review will once again conclude that direct access offers no price savings or other benefits to customers, particularly in today's highly competitive market."
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Optus Communications Pty. Ltd., an Australian telecommunications concern, won a contract to supply digital satellite services for Sky Channel, the sole provider of thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing coverage in Australia.
[As you can see, there are only extremely exciting news today.] The five-year, 'multi-million dollar agreement' gives Sky Channel access to a full-time 6Mbit/s video channel, plus additional channels for special events. Sky Channel plans to continue using its analogue BMAC signal until late 1998 when it will switch to the digitised Optus Aurora platform, Optus said in a statement.
"Sky?" I hear you grunt, "Australia? Rupert?" Obviously not: Sky Channel is owned by the New South Wales state government and will be sold off as part of the state government's initial public offer of shares in its betting agency, the New South Wales Totalizator Agency Board, or TAB, in May. The body is due to be listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in June and is expected to have a market capitalisation in excess of A$1 billion.
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Toshiba Corp., Toyota Motor Corp. and Fujitsu Ltd. announced they will team up to launch a mobile digital satellite-based multimedia service in early 2001, reported Kyodo news agency.
The three companies will take the lead in establishing a joint-venture company for the service, provisionally called Nihon Mobile Broadcasting Corp., by the end of May with an initial capital of 500 million yen. Toshiba will provide about 40% of the initial capital while Toyota will invest 30% and Fujitsu 15%. The capital is expected to rise to 40 billion yen by 2002.
The service would enable motorists to watch television and access up-to-date information from a digital broadcasting satellite utilising Toshiba's "Radi-Vision" technology, which uses the S-band. Data, sound, and images can be received with a flat 5-cm diameter antenna even if the car is moving at speeds of up to 300 kilometers per hour. [No, the system won't drive your car, but you're guaranteed to have a hell of a ride when you watch pictures while driving at that speed.]
The group hopes to sell 2 million units by 2003 and 10 million units by 2010 but still has to figure out how to keep the price of the units at an affordable level. The deal also needs the approval of Japan's Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications as the country's TV and radio licensing body.
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Yes, it's Saint Peter time again. Patrick Evans has come up with a family-entertainment compatible joke especially for all you engineers out there.
An engineer dies and reports to the pearly gates. St. Peter checks his dossier and says, "Ah, you're an engineer--you're in the wrong place."
So the engineer reports to the gates of hell and is let in. Pretty soon the engineer gets dissatisfied with the level of comfort in hell, and starts designing and building improvements. After a while they've got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators,.. and the engineer is a pretty popular guy.
One day GOD calls Satan up on the telephone and says with a sneer, "So, how's it going down there in hell"?
Satan replies, "Hey, things are going great. We've got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and there's no telling what this engineer is going to come up with next!
GOD replies, "What??? You've got an engineer? That's a mistake--he should have never got down there; send him back up here!"
Satan says, "No way. I like having an engineer on the staff, and I'm keeping him."
GOD replies "Send him back up here or I'll sue."
"Yeah, right. And just where are you going to get a lawyer?"
As there are not too many news in this issue, here are two quickies from Paul Morley. Here's his favourite joke, although he says it sounds better in French:
What is the difference between an oral thermometer and a rectal thermometer?
Err... yes. He'd also like to tell you how he wants to die:
Peacefully in my sleep... like my grandfather; not screaming and terrified -- as the passengers in his car!
Hm... strange, I think Nihon Mobile Broadcasting was not available at that time?