KOUROU, French Guiana — The launch of Bolivia’s first telecommunications satellite is already providing measurable benefits in the form of lower Internet access charges, satellite television rates and cellular subscriptions, Bolivian President Evo Morales said April 1 in a speech in La Paz, Bolivia.
Morales has taken a personal interest in the Tupac Katari satellite (TKSat-1), a $300 million project financed mainly by the China Development Bank and built by Chinese satellite and rocket manufacturers. Launched in December, TKSat-1 uses a Chinese DFH-4 platform and carries 26 Ku-band, two C-band and two Ka-band transponders. It operates at 87.5 degrees west.
Morales said Bolivia’s satellite television provider has agreed to drop prices by some 50 percent compared to prevailing rates using foreign satellites. Bolivian Internet service providers have also committed to reducing tariffs by 20 percent for the lowest-tier bandwidth plans and more than 50 percent for heavier users.
Cellular telephone subscription costs have similarly been slashed and are now lower than anywhere in South America except Venezuela, Morales said. Like Bolivia, Venezuela purchased a satellite from China as part of a bundled deal that included the satellite, its launch and financing.
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