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Relationship with space

Satellite Internet in Yakutia will be available

Relationship with space

The active introduction of innovations, the development of new technologies in communications and informatization is a requirement of modern life. The Minister of Communications and Information Technologies of Yakutia, Konstantin Semenov, on how the infrastructure will develop and what is the role of the satellite in this process.

- Konstantin Evgenievich, tell us about the satellites working in the republic.

- There are only a few satellites operating throughout the Far East and Eastern Siberia. There are two large operators operating in Russia, the owner of spacecraft constellations - the state enterprise "Space Communications" and the commercial "Gazprom Space Systems". Each of them operates several satellites. Resources on communication satellites are leased by many commercial communication operators, which are also actively developing their networks of ground stations in our republic.

The only satellite that completely covers the entire territory of Yakutia is Express-AM2005, launched in 3. In 2017, its life in orbit is completed. At the end of last year, it was replaced by the long-awaited for us new “Express-AM5”. The remaining satellites cover the republic only partially, and operators have to orient their plates at once to several spacecraft.

The western and central regions of the republic are covered by the satellite Express-AM33. It was launched in 2008 by the Federal State Unitary Enterprise "Space Communications", located at the position of 96,5 degree. Another two satellites are provided by the operator Gazprom Space Systems. Both vehicles are at the 90-th degree of the orbital position, that is, their working area - the western and central parts of Yakutia. Yamal-201, the oldest satellite, was launched back in 2003. It is being prepared for withdrawal next year, in 2012, Yamal-300K has already been launched to replace it. Also in August of this year, we are waiting for the launch of the new Yamal-401 satellite in the same orbital position.

New satellites have more resources on board, are being created on a more powerful platform. In the end, we are striving to make satellite Internet more accessible to users, reducing the cost of equipment and traffic.

- Indeed, satellite communication for Yakutia is very important, because the fiber-optic line is purely physically impossible to conduct throughout the country. But satellite communication does not go to any comparison with the fiber. Can we hope that optics completely replace the satellite in the subject?

- Ensuring mass access to the Internet and eliminating digital inequality is a state task. At the end of last year, we with the Ministry of Telecommunications and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation began work to provide our small towns with population of 250 people accessible by the Internet. One large operator will be selected, which will build communication lines throughout Russia at the expense of the universal service fund, formed from the deductions of all telecom operators. The beginning of specific construction projects in Yakutia on this federal project is expected this year. But the problem is that no operator at the expense of their means will not pull fiber to remote, sparsely populated areas for hundreds of kilometers. Therefore, satellite communication for Yakutia has been and will continue to be one of the main communication technologies throughout the country for many decades.

Satellite technology does not stand still. Today, several communication satellites operating in a completely new Ka-band are already functioning in the world. We do not have such domestic satellites in Russia yet, the first satellite carrying Ka-band equipment was Express-AM5, but it has not yet entered the given orbit. Unfortunately, our Ka-band rays are not directed to our republic. However, we look forward to the beginning of its work in other regions of Russia, I would like to see this new technology in practice. Users will get higher Internet access speeds and significantly lower prices for traffic.

It is clear that the speed of transmission over satellite channels lags far behind the optics. Everyone needs unlimited Internet tariffs. Today they can be provided at reasonable prices only through fiber-optic channels. Therefore, in our republic there are no unlimited tariffs even in the city of Mirny, although there is a terrestrial channel using radio relay stations.

Significant progress in speed and cost of satellite Internet access is expected in 2017, when another Yamal satellite should earn over part of Yakutia. Now satellite stations are installed throughout the country, in almost every locality. Every citizen of the republic, from Yakutsk to the Arctic village of Tiksi on the coast of the Arctic Ocean, has the opportunity to connect the Internet and digital TV using a satellite dish.

- Should we expect that with the launch of new satellites with the Ka-band, the Yakut communication tariffs will be equal to the average tariffs in the country?

- Most likely, no, the difference will always be, since, firstly, the ground channels were and will be more speedy and cheaper. Secondly, even satellites over the western part of Russia are much more numerous than over the Far East. But the difference in tariffs will be reduced, as we saw with the arrival of optics in Yakutsk. For example, in the capital of the republic the cost of unlimited Internet for the population for the last three years has dropped by about eight times, and the "unlimited" has finally become public.

- When can we expect a radical improvement in the quality of satellite communications in hard-to-reach areas of Yakutia?

- By the summer, when the new satellite Express-AM5 will be put into operation, which will allow creating the infrastructure for providing the population of the whole Far East and Siberia with communication channels and affordable multi-program digital television and radio broadcasting. Now the satellite is moving to its target orbit. Due to it, the quality of communication in the whole republic will significantly improve, even in the remote northern areas. We expect to put it into operation in May-June of this year. The life of the spacecraft will be 15 years. Today it is one of the most powerful Russian communications satellites. Like Express-AM3, it will be in the target orbital position of 140 degrees east longitude. This is the optimal location for a satellite that operates on Yakutia. Its input will have a positive effect on the development of the Internet and the package of multiservice communication services in the whole of Yakutia.

- What problems do the republic need to solve in order to improve the quality of satellite communications?

- The main problem is the lack of satellite resources. Load on existing channels, which is already objectively lacking, is growing, we are experiencing a huge shortage of satellite communication channels. In the short term, the resource deficit will not decrease significantly. And this is the problem of the entire Far East. The existing satellites have all the channels already occupied. And it is clear that communication via satellite is very expensive. But it is worth noting that the new satellite "Express-AM5" operators operating in Yakutia, have received enough resources, in total more than 900 megahertz have been booked. This means that the speed of satellite communication channels can be increased by one and a half times. This has already been stated, for example, the branch of OJSC "Rostelecom" in Yakutia - "Sakhatelecom".

- Previously, provider activity was the prerogative of such large companies as Rostelecom. Now the situation is changing. How do you assess the success of small Yakut enterprises?

- I believe that the small business of Yakutia has occupied a very attractive niche for development. Today, a number of small Yakut companies act as representatives of large all-Russian satellite Internet operators and actively promote these services throughout the country. Thus, competition between providers is developing not only in the capital, Yakutsk, or other cities of the republic, but even in the Far North an alternative to the same Rostelecom appears, and this means that the quality of the services provided improves. Such changes are particularly relevant this year, as it is declared the Year of the Arctic.

One of the striking successful examples is the company YakStar, a resident of the Yakutia Technopark. Just last year, they organized Internet access points in 40 locations of the republic. At the same time, the access speed of “YakStar” even in the most distant villages is approximately 512 Kbps, which is a very good indicator. Access to the population is provided via Wi-Fi, which is very convenient. I was recently in Allaikhovsky and Zhigansky districts: their Wi-Fi works great in many villages, within the entire settlement, and in houses and on the streets. There is no such thing in Yakutsk, and thanks to YakStar, residents of remote villages can use the Internet anywhere.

The advantage of our local companies to the Moscow operators is that Yakutians themselves work for us, they know the specifics of their republic and the local market. But our market does not need dozens of telecom operators, the provider business is not massive, in contrast to the IT field.

- And do you think that the IT industry in the uluses has a chance for development?

- IT business has much more opportunities, the field of activity is not limited to the territory, because you can create programs for the global market. In our ulus, affordable fast Internet only comes, and this is the main condition for the development of the IT-sphere. The second important condition is the concentration of a number of IT specialists in one place. Successful projects and ideas most often appear in the exchange of information, the constant interaction of people. Therefore, we very much support the idea of ​​creating in Yakutsk an IT park with all the necessary infrastructure, facilities and so on. It will just become the focus of people with ideas in the field of high technology.

- What steps do you expect from Yakut companies in this area?

- Electronic government is actively developing in Yakutia. It consists of a variety of information systems, including electronic document management. Recently we started to involve local businesses, but, unfortunately, they are still far from the level of Moscow or Kazan colleagues. Of course, they take experience. What we are doing now, they already passed five years ago. The same IT-park began to be created in Tatarstan seven years ago. But if it is still difficult for us to compete with the West of Russia, then within the Far East of the country we have every chance to get ahead. We can be the first to create an IT park, and our companies will have an objective chance to break out into the leaders of the IT industry.

- Let's return to communication problems. Communication channels are leased on all four satellites. Will the republic ever launch its satellite?

- We are studying various options, including investing in the creation and launch of a new communications satellite. In the past and this year, the delegation of the republic headed by Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Borisov visited the SP Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation Energia and in Gazprom Space Systems in Moscow, as well as in the Information Society Satellite systems "them. Academician MF Reshetnev "in Krasnoyarsk-26 (now Zheleznogorsk). Negotiations were held with the leadership of leading Russian companies engaged in the production of communication satellites, about the possible participation of our Republic in the creation of a new satellite.

- What other innovations will be introduced by Yakutia in the field of satellite communications?

- Basically, our communication operators use satellites located in the geostationary orbit, that is, above the equator. They are always on the same point and thus ensure the broadcasting of a strictly defined territory. But apart from geostationary in the world today, low-orbiting, relocating satellites are increasingly used. So far, mostly foreign ones are used - Globalstar and Iridium. But next year we expect the full-scale operation of the spacecraft of the domestic system of low-orbit satellites Gonets. Today, this company is gradually moving its satellites into orbit. They are not designed to transmit large volumes of traffic in a constant mode. Their task is the transmission of telematic information from transport or production facilities, the transmission of electronic mail or text messages, in particular, in emergency situations. In the future, the provision of radiotelephone communication services is expected.

In the republic, the need for the services of such satellites is also high. The Mi-8 helicopter crashed last summer in Ust-Yanye for a long time could not be found. If the Gonets group had already been operating in Yakutia and the helicopter had the appropriate equipment, information about the coordinates of the plane crash would have been obtained much faster, people’s lives would have been saved.

Now this new satellite grouping for our country is launched in a minimum amount - in six satellites "Gonets-M". Six more vehicles are expected to be launched this year. If their launch into orbit is successful, then we will have certain prospects for equipping our vehicles in remote, arctic regions of the republic with the necessary equipment in the event of an emergency.

- How does Yakutia compare with other regions of the Russian Far East in terms of Internetization?

- By satellite equipment, we are no worse than other regions of the FEFD. In terms of the provision of domestic spacecraft, it is even better, since Yakutia is located west of most other subjects of the Far East, we have the opportunity to work with satellites located in the west. Sakhalin and Magadan, for example, have no such possibility. As for the optical fiber, all large trunk lines pass by the territory of the republic. Therefore, in terms of Internet speed, we seriously lost to the more southern regions of the country. But with the arrival of the main fiber optic communication lines of OJSC Rostelecom and CJSC TransTeleCom, this issue has been largely resolved.

Now, together with our operators, we are working on the development of intraregional FOCL in Yakutia. Today, in addition to Yakutsk, optics came to the territory of Central Yakutia (Khangalassky and Namsky uluses), the river (Maya), southern (Neryungri, Aldan). There is a certain certainty that already at the beginning of 2015 the FOL will come to Lensk, Mirny, Olekminsk and Churapchu. Next, we will work to build optics in the direction of the Vilyui group of regions.

Of course, the Far East significantly lags behind the western part of the country in the development of telecommunications infrastructure; this is a big problem, we constantly raise this issue in the Ministry of Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation. Despite plans to launch two new satellites this year, we do not see a radical change in the situation. We will continue to work with the Ministry of Communications and the Federal State Unitary Enterprise "Space Communications" and insist that new satellites are absolutely necessary for Yakutia.

Interview published in the journal "Technopark Yakutia".

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