24 March 2000

Kenya: WorldSpace Enters Asia Market

Nairobi — Digital broadcast pioneer WorldSpace is set to take its services to the Asian continent following the successful launch of its AsiaStar satellite.

According to a press release by the firm's communications manager, Ms Maureen Aseno, the lift-off of the firm's second satellite was done in Kourou, French Guyana in the Caribbean.

WorldSpace founder chairman Noah Samara described the launch as a "spectacular success" and promised high-quality news, education and entertainment to the continent at affordable rates.

AsiaStar is expected to cover most of Asia, including India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, when its commercial service is launched in June.

WordSpace's AfriStar satellite is already in orbit relaying broadcasts to most of Africa and the Middle East by some 40 subscriber radio stations that include the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation and Metro East FM.

The broadcaster content is received via special portable receivers fitted with dish antennae and manufactured by Hitachi, JVC, Panasonic and Sanyo.

The receivers, which also pack multimedia capability, are already on sale at retail outlets locally at prices ranging between Sh20,000 and Sh30,000.

Founded in 1990 by Mr. Samara, Washington-based WorldSpace hopes to provide direct satellite delivery of digital audio communications and multimedia services to some 4.6 billion people in under-served parts of the world, such as Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbeans.

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