Data transmission over satellite was adopted in the past as a cheaper and efficient way for communication across great distances. This article will offer an overview on companies that operate satellite stations in Brazil.
Satellites are used in Brazil for the transmission of signals from telecom providers, which hold specific license for the operation of services that include mobile and landlines, satellite television and global mobile communications. In Brazil, Embratel is the largest provider of services in this segment, transmitting signal from several sources to geostationary and geosynchronous satellites in orbit.
Brazilian satellites usually operate between frequencies from L band, which encompasses bandwidths from 1.5 GHz to 2.5 GHz, to Ka band, which encompasses bandwidths from 20 GHz to 30 GHz, and are categorized as Super High Frequency, or SHF, to Extremely High Frequency, or EHF. The most commonly used system for communication services is DTH, Direct to Home, which uses a VSAT, Very Small Aperture Terminal due to its practicality and lower operation costs.
ANATEL, the Brazilian Telecommunications Agency, released in 2012 a regulation for satellite stations in Brazil specifying the details to obtain licensing on the service, and what kinds of stations are included under this classification. Overall, all stations located on the surface of the Earth or inside the atmosphere that transmit or receive signals to satellites or any object in space for communication are considered to be satellite earth stations.
Several international satellites also have coverage in Brazil, being used alongside the Brazilian ones, and they are, in most cases intended for internet and business communication. While Embratel deals with the telecom market, INPE, or The National Institute for Space Research, operates meteorology research and government satellites. Recently, ANATEL opened a satellite station for the management and regulation of the frequency spectrum used by satellites in the country.
Main satellite station operators
Most of the satellite operations in Brazil are operated by a few players, that provide and manage these services for any other companies that need satellite communication in order to operate such as broadcasters, IT and telephone amongst others.
Embratel Star One, an affiliate of Embratel, is the largest satellite communication company in Brazil and owns the SBTS, or The Brazilian Satellite Transmission System. Star One provides DataSat services for voice and data communications, sound and image and transmission for private clients. The company currently manages five geostationary satellites Star One C1, C2, C3, C12 and Brasilsat B4 and two geosynchronous, Brasilsat B2 and B3.
Star One infrastructure is used by the largest companies in Brazil including banks, satellite television providers, the government and other clients that need this kind of communication. The company operates satellite stations in the cities of Guaratiba, located in Rio de Janeiro state and Morungaba, located in São Paulo state. Signals transmitted from these facilities have nationwide coverage and also transmit to other countries in Latin America and the United States.
INPE operates CRC, or The Satellite Control and Tracking Center, that is dedicated to the management of their own orbiting satellites, with support for third-party missions. The satellite stations are used for receiving, processing and sending telemetry data from the satellites, location correction, calibration and equipment management. INPE has two stations in the city of Cuiabá, in Mato Grosso state and the city of Alcântara, in Maranhão state. Currently they monitor the satellites SCD1, SCD2 and CBERS2.
Hispamar is an affiliate of Hispasat and has operated for more than ten years in the American market. The company provides broadcast services for televisions and universities and telecom solutions for companies and government entities, such as telephony and internet. Its satellite station is located in Guaratiba, in Rio de Janeiro state, with the satellite control in Flamengo. Hispamar has two authorized geostationary satellites in operation: the Amazonas-2 and Amazonas-3 system for C, Ku and Ka bands and Amazonas-4A for Ku band.
Telsat currently operates one satellite in Brazil, the Estrela do Sul 2 and plans to launch the Telstar 12 VANTAGE in 2015. The company provides signal for Latin America, and with the new satellite should also serve Europe, the Middle East and Africa with broadband communication solutions for commercial and governmental ships and aircraft. Telesat has facilities in Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte, designated to the control and management of the satellites.
Teleports are an important telecommunication center for its locators and the region around it. They are focused on companies that require large broadband connectivity, optical fiber and satellite communications. Several satellite companies such as Embratel and Hispamar use teleports in order to manage the equipment in orbit. Teleports are also used to perform the uplink and downlink of information with the satellite. The first one in Brazil was deployed in the neighbourhood of Cidade Nova, in the city of Rio de Janeiro in 1995 and is still operational, being one of the most important in the country.