Nepal, the land of the biggest mountain range in the world and lying in the foothills of the mighty Himalayas have recently shown interest in launching their own independent satellite into space and the contract is likely to be signed by the Franco-Italian manufacturer, Thales Alenia.
Nepal has a domestic population close to 30 million but boasts of no domestic communication satellite yet. The status is going to change soon though as Thales Alenia acknowledged an agreement with the Telecommunications Department of Nepal on 11 March, a week after a meeting between the concerned authorities was held.
A spokesperson of Thales Alenia said that there has been no official contact yet and only the agreement has been reached but they expect to make it official soon. The country has already booked a slot in the orbit with the Union of International Telecommunication. They are on line to launch C and Ku band satellites by 2022 and will be operated from 123.3 degrees East.
The Communication and Information Technology minister, Mr. Gokul Prasad Baskota believes that it is time that Nepal embraces the era of digitalization with open arms and high-speed broadband internet becomes available to all its citizens so that they can be competitive to all other countries. They are the latest entrant from the Asia-Pacific region where it is already crowded that results in making the business a highly challenging one. The regulation of access is fragmented as well and a number of national satellites are going into space. Other than Nepal, Laos and Bangladesh have already entered the mix in 2015 and 2018 respectively.
Though there are several operators like Thaicom belonging to Thailand, AsiaSat from Hong Kong, Measat from Malaysia as well as Sky Perfect JSAT in Japan who already have C and Ku coverage satellites that span and cover Nepal, having their own national satellite is a big step forward for the nation housing the Mt. Everest.