The Telecom Regulator of Cambodia yesterday said that the Kingdom’s plan to launch its first satellite is still being studied after the Defence Ministry denied media reports that it will be sent into space in 2021.
TRC spokesman Im Vutha yesterday said that the project has not yet been approved.
“Cambodia’s plan to launch our first satellite is still under study and we do not have a time frame to launch it,” he said.
He noted that local conglomerate Royal Group and Beijing-based China Great Wall Industry Cooperation are conducting a feasibility study on the launch of the satellite.
“The project has not been approved because we are still studying issues regarding the launch, including technical ones,” Mr Vutha said. “The project is still in the planning stage.”
In 2011, Royal Blue Skies – a subsidiary of the Royal Group – was commissioned by the Defence Ministry to launch a satellite to deliver TV and Internet services to the Kingdom and other Asean countries.
The Cambodian Satellite I project was set to take off in 2013 and its construction and launch was estimated to cost between $230 million and $350 million.
Defence Ministry spokesman General Chhum Sucheat yesterday denied reports by media outlets that the launch will take place in 2021.
“I was surprised to see that some media outlets published reports that I recently commented on the plan to launch Cambodia’s satellite,” Gen Sucheat posted on his Facebook page yesterday.
“Even though it is a positive issue, I ask these media outlets to correct their reports because I did not speak about the issue with the media or at other forums,” he said. “I think reporters may have contacted the wrong source who provided the information.”
AKP on Friday reported that a senior Defence Ministry official said that Cambodia planned to launch a satellite in 2021 to help manage national security, public order and security along the border with neighbouring countries.
AKP quoted Gen Sucheat as saying that when Cambodia has its own satellite it will facilitate efforts to defend the country.
“Currently if there is need to collect information for social security or border issues we need to obtain data through foreign satellites and it is difficult to hide sensitive information from other subscribers,” he was quoted as saying. “Sometimes the cost of renting the satellite service is too costly.”
In December 2017, Prime Minister Hun Sen proposed that the Royal Group partner with other companies to make the Kingdom’s satellite dream a reality. He said that Cambodia should have its own satellite to make high-speed broadband available to all.
Mr Hun Sen said there needed to be more development in the country’s telecommunication infrastructure, especially in satellite-delivered internet and internet delivered through submarine communications cables.