Internet service providers (ISPs) might be disappointed with Azerspace/Africasat-1, the first national telecommunications satellite of Azerbaijan, due to its lack of Ka-band transponders necessary for satellite broadband Internet services. The same, however, will not apply to VSAT service consumers.
Azerspace's owner-operator, Azercosmos, designed the satellite to provide VSAT technology services to large commercial customers. The Azerbaijani satellite is thus equipped with a payload of Ku-band and C-band transponders. The nature and service orientation of Azerspace makes it more expensive to deliver Internet from satellite services- perhaps too expensive for the tastes of ISPs.
At the same time, Azerbaijan does host a significant number of VSAT service consumers. Oil companies can use Azerspace-powered satellite communications solutions to stay in touch with their maritime assets and remotely run their pipeline infrastructure. Both Azerbaijan State Caspian Shipping Company (CASPAR) and the State Maritime Administration (ARDDA) can leverage the new satellite to control maritime vessels. Azercosmos also predicted the possibility of reeling in commercial banks as customers.
The United States accounts for half of the global VSAT market. However, Russia currently enjoys the fastest-growing demand for such services. The agencies of the Russian federal government is currently implementing universal communication service and education throughout the country. In addition, large corporations, small and medium regional business, and private users all use satellite services.
Azerspace/Africasat-1a was built by Orbital Sciences Corporation and launched by Arianespace from Kourou, French Guiana on February 7, 2013. Designed for an operational lifespan of 15 years, its 24 C-band transponders and 12 Ku-band transponders can deliver services to VSAT users in Azerbaijan, Central Asia, Europe, Middle East, and Africa.