Macau Sets Foray Into Satellite TV

Author:
Publish date:
Updated on

Hong Kong --Macau is expected to launch a satellite TV
service within the next 12 months, after officials in the Portuguese enclave issued a
15-year license to a Sino-Portuguese consortium.

The Cosmos joint venture is headed by Macau businessman Ng
Fok, and it will be permitted to operate up to six TV channels under the terms of its
license from the Sino-Portuguese Joint Liaison Group.

Cosmos has a capital stock base of $US3.89 million. In
addition to the six channels, the company promised to provide a ground station and a fiber
optic cable-TV service. The project will likely cost more than $US129 million, and the
first of the channels must be on air by January 1999, according to Macau officials. They
did not mention whether the signals would be analog or digital; from which satellite they
will be beamed; or what the channel content will be.

Macau -- located 60 miles from Hong Kong, across the Pearl
River Delta -- is due to return to Chinese sovereignty in December 1999.

The move underscores its determination to become a regional
communications hub. In addition to the Cosmos license, Macau will also seek tenders for a
license to run a satellite-telecommunications operation and for another to manage
satellite uplinking and downlinking.

State-run Teledifusao de Macau runs one Portuguese and one
Chinese broadcast-TV channel. Hong Kong's two terrestrial channels are universally
available in the enclave, as well as free-to-air satellite TV channels, such as the Star
TV platform. With only 300,000 inhabitants, it is unlikely that Macau will be able to
provide much of Cosmos' programming requirements.

Portugal Telecom Internacional, China Travel Service
(Holdings), Hong Kong China Intercontinental Communication Centre, China Yuanwang (Group),
China TV Programme Agency and China Telecommunications Broadcast Satellite Corp. are
Cosmos' main investors, in addition to Ng.

Related