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LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL BRIEF
Telecommunication Ordinance
(Chapter 106)
GRANT OF LICENCE FOR ASIASAT 3S


INTRODUCTION

At the meeting of the Executive Council on 2 February 1999, the Council ADVISED and the Acting Chief Executive ORDERED that the Space Radiocommunication Telemetry, Tracking, Control and Monitoring Station Licence for AsiaSat 3S, at Annex A, should be issued to Asia Satellite Telecommunications Company Limited (AsiaSat) under sections 7 and 34 of the Telecommunication Ordinance.

BACKGROUND AND ARGUMENT

General Background

2. AsiaSat*, a company incorporated in Hong Kong, launched AsiaSat 1 in April 1990 and AsiaSat 2 in November 1995. It also leased an in-orbit satellite "Gorizont 42" from a Russian company INTERSPUTNIK in December 1997 as a back-up satellite and renamed it AsiaSat G. To cope with the growth of its business on the provision of satellite communications services in the Asia-Pacific region, it launched a communications satellite AsiaSat 3 in December 1997. However, the launch of AsiaSat 3 was unsuccessful in putting the satellite into the target orbit. After AsiaSat successfully claimed from its insurer the total loss of AsiaSat 3, it commissioned Hughes Space and Communications International, Inc., the manufacturer of AsiaSat 3, to construct and deliver in-orbit a replacement satellite, AsiaSat 3S.

Licences for AsiaSat 3S

3. For the launch and operation of AsiaSat 3S, AsiaSat requires -

  1. a licence to be granted by the Chief Executive under section 5 of the Outer Space Ordinance (the Outer Space Licence) for the procurement of the launch of the satellite and its operation in outer space; and

  2. a licence to be granted by the Chief Executive in Council under sections 7 and 34 of the Telecommunication Ordinance for operating the radio stations on board the satellite (the space stations) and for the establishment and maintenance of the telemetry, tracking, control and monitoring (TTC&M) station in Hong Kong.

4. In order to operate the space stations and to monitor and control the satellite, AsiaSat is building a TTC&M station in Stanley on Hong Kong Island. As the operation of the stations involves the use of radiocommunication equipment to communicate with the satellite, a licence is required under section 8 of the Ordinance. Sections 7 and 34 of the Ordinance empower the Chief Executive in Council to issue an appropriate licence and to specify appropriate conditions respectively. We are separately making arrangements to seek the Chief Executive's approval to grant the Outer Space Licence.

5. The licence is valid for 20 years, which aligns with the planned operational life of the stations. The licence specifies the services permitted to be operated by the stations, namely a Fixed-Satellite Service (as defined in the licence) and the tracking and control of licensed satellites. The licence provides the Telecommunications Authority with the necessary power to regulate the safe and proper operation of the stations and to ensure their compliance with international regulations regarding the control of radio interference. The key terms and conditions of the licence are summarised at Annex C.

FINANCIAL AND STAFFING IMPLICATIONS

6. The additional workload arising from the grant of the licence for AsiaSat 3S can be absorbed with the existing resource of the Telecommunications Authority. The relevant costs incurred will be fully recovered in the licence fees.

ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS

7. The proposed licence will facilitate AsiaSat to expand its business in Hong Kong in the provision of satellite communications services. This will bring about economic benefits to Hong Kong through the opportunities it provides to users of its services.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPLICATIONS

8. The licence for AsiaSat 3S requires AsiaSat to take all proper and adequate measures to safeguard the public against any electrical or radiation hazard emanating from the TTC&M station and the space stations.

PUBLIC CONSULTATION

9. AsiaSat has been consulted and is content with the terms and conditions of the licence for AsiaSat 3S.

PUBLICITY

10. A Legislative Council Brief will be issued on 12 February 1999. A spokesman will be available to take enquiries.


Subject Officer : Mr. G. F. Woodhead
PAS(ITB)E
Tel : 2189 2210
Fax : 2511 1458

12 February 1999
Information Technology and Broadcasting Bureau
Government Secretariat

 
AsiaSat is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Asia Satellite Telecommunications Holdings Limited, which is incorporated in Bermuda and listed on the New York and the Hong Kong Stock Exchanges. The principal shareholder of Asia Satellite Telecommunications Holdings Limited is Bowenvale Limited which is owned by the China International Trust and Investment Corporation (CITIC) and Societe Europeenne des Satellites S.A. (SES), a European satellite service operator. A diagram depicting the shareholding structure of AsiaSat is at Annex B.

______________________________

Telecommunication Ordinance
(Chapter 106)
GRANT OF LICENCE FOR ASIASAT 3S
ANNEXES
Annex A Space Radiocommunication Telemetry, Tracking, Control and Monitoring Station Licence for AsiaSat 3S.
Annex B Shareholding Structure of Asia Satellite Telecommunications Company Limited
Annex C Summary of the Key Provisions of the Space Radiocommunication Telemetry, Tracking, Control and Monitoring Station Licence for AsiaSat 3S

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