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Boeing building telecom satellites to expand Mexico's networks

Jan. 8, 2014 at 3:23 PM   |   Comments

MEXICO CITY, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Boeing is building two high-power satellites for Mexico as part of the Latin American country's program of boosting information security and expanding networks to remote underdeveloped areas.

The Boeing Co. said it completed the first of two 702HP geomobile satellites, named Centenario, for deployment by Mexico's new Mexsat end-to-end satellite communications system.

Mexsat aims to provide enhanced social communications to consumers across Mexico while enhancing capability for military, civil and humanitarian needs.

The world's 10th-largest oil producer, Mexico under President Enrique Pena Nieto is struggling to push ambitious targets for reduction in crime and poverty and Mexico's transformation into a balanced market economy.

Extensive telecommunications industry reforms aim to cut domination of the sector by a handful of companies controlled by influential groups. How the satellite communications will be affected by the shake-up wasn't discussed in government pronouncements.

But telecom watchdog Federal Telecommunications Institute served notice on major telecom operators it wants to see more competition and less dominance by companies owning up to 70 percent of market share.

Centenario, marking the 100th anniversary of the Mexican revolution, will be stored by Boeing for the Mexican Ministry of Communications and Transportation until launch some time this year. The second craft, Morelos-3, is scheduled to launch in 2015.

Boeing welcomed close collaboration with Mexico.

"Boeing, Mexico's Telecomm technical agency and its consultants have worked closely together throughout the design, build and test of this satellite," said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems and chief executive officer of Boeing Satellite Systems International, a $33 billion unit of the U.S. aviation major.

"Our combined expertise ensures that the Mexsat system will provide reliable telecommunications to the country's most remote areas," Cooning said.

Boeing is the overall integrator for the Mexsat system, which comprises three satellites, two ground network and satellite control stations in Mexico, associated network operations systems, and 67 reference user terminals.

Bicentenario, a fixed satellite system spacecraft built by Boeing subcontractor Orbital Sciences, launched in December 2012 and is being operated by Mexico's technical agency Telecomm.

The Mexsat regional mobile satellite system builds on Boeing's 14-year history of designing and delivering advanced geomobile satellite communications systems.

Boeing launched the world's first geosynchronous communications satellite, Syncom, in 1963.

Mexico's satellite development comes at a time of an expected shake-up in Mexico's telecommunication industry, which the government watchdog sees under the thumb of predominant companies.

America Movil, controlled by multibillionaire Carlos Slim, commands about 70 percent of the country's mobile and about 80 percent of the fixed-line telephone market. Televisa holds sway over about 60 percent of the television market.

Congressional reforms have armed watchdog IFT with new powers to slap anti-trust measures on companies that are seen to be dominant, to the detriment of smaller players.

© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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