|Source: Dr. Hussein Amin, Member of the Higher Committee for Specialized Nilesat Networks, the Egyptian Radio and Television Union, Cairo, Egypt.
The biggest development in transnational broadcasting in the Arab world this year was the launch of Nilesat, not only Egypt's first national satellite but also the first satellite owned by a single Arab nation, on April 28, 1998. It was built in France by the Matra Marconi Space company and launched by the Ariane company using an Ariane 4 rocket, with a ground control station in 6th of October City, Cairo and backup station in Alexandria. The Nilesat project, at an estimated cost of US$158 million, is based on digital technology and carries 12 transponders, each capable of transmitting eight digital television channels, providing up to 96 television channels plus carrying up to 400 radio stations. Six transponders were reserved for use by the Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU), and regional networks ART and Showtime have each leased two transponders. The Nilesat footprint covers the entire Arab world and parts of Africa and Europe.
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