x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

UAE satellite ready for action, Yahsat says

Control of the newly-launched communications satellite Y1B has been handed over to Abu Dhabi technicians.

DUBAI // Control of a newly-launched communications satellite has been handed over to Abu Dhabi technicians.

Y1B, an internet satellite that was shot into space on April 24, has now stabilised in a low earth orbit.

French firm Astrium, which oversaw the launch of the satellite, handed over control of the space device to its owners, Yahsat, last week.

"We are convinced that the arrival of Y1B will enhance the quality of coverage we provide," said Tareq Abdulraheem Al Hosani, chief executive of Yahsat.

It is the second satellite launched by the company.

The first, Y1A, was launched last year primarily as a broadcast satellite, although it offered some internet services on secure military connections.

Y1B will offer commercial broadband internet to 28 countries, starting from around the beginning of October, Mr Al Hosani said last month.

Monthly subscriptions to the internet service, called YahClick will start at around Dh73, he said. The service will be a key lifeline in parts of south-west Asia and north Africa, as well as areas of the UAE where fibre broadband is not yet available.

"We are targeting emerging markets," said Mr Al Hosani. "Some countries don't have the ground fibre network everywhere. Satellite broadband is a gap filler for them at the moment."

The satellite deployed its solar panels and entered a secure geostationary orbit, 23,000 miles above earth, on April 29.

It has been tested several times since then, and was officially handed over to Yahsat on May 11.

mcroucher@thenational.ae