January 13, 2009 (venezuelanalysis.com)— The Venezuelan government officially took control over its own recently launched satellite on Saturday and announced that it plans to place over 16,000 satellite antennas throughout the country so that communities may take advantage of the satellite’s telecommunications capabilities.
Venezuela commissioned the satellite from China in November 2005 and launched it almost three years later, in October, 2008.
In the first phase, during 2009, the government plans to install 1,200 to 1,500 antennas, primarily in remote areas of the country, so that these may take advantage of the satellite’s television, internet, and telephone capabilities. Also, the satellite will be used to conduct remote medical diagnoses in real time and distance education, according to the ministry of science and technology.
Venezuela’s Minister of Telecommunications, Socorro Hernandez, said that 16,000 satellite antennas would be placed throughout the country in the next five years.
Nuris Orihuela, the minister of science and technology, explained that another principal function of the satellite is to promote Latin American integration by allowing other countries to use the satellite too. However, the joint usage will be part of larger cooperation plans, rather than the leasing of the satellite’s capacity to others. “We will jointly launch integration programs and jointly develop programs of social inclusion within regional cooperation [agreements],” said Orihuela.
During the inauguration ceremony on Saturday, President Hugo Chávez said that Venezuela is constructing a second satellite, which will be ready for launch in 2013, but this time it will be built in Venezuela by Venezuelans, instead of in China.