NewSat has announced the signing of a three-year US$105 million capacity contract with US communications provider TrustComm, supporting the company's launch of a new satellite at the end of next year.
NewSat is planning to launch the satellite, dubbed Jabiru-1, in 2012. It will be a hybrid Ku- and Ka-band satellite, which will provide coverage over South East Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.
TrustComm will pay US$28 million in the first year after the launch of the satellite. The rest will be paid over years two and three. The value of the deal could rise to US$114 million.
The Ka-based capacity purchased by the US telco will serve regions within the Middle East, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Qatar and Pakistan.
Adrian Ballintine, NewSat founder and CEO, said that the contract marked a milestone for the company's move from reselling satellite capacity to owning satellites.
"The Jabiru-1 satellite is the first of our fleet of geostationary satellites, and will be Australia's first independently owned commercial satellite.
"TrustComm's commitment to take capacity on Jabiru-1 is a significant milestone for NewSat, and will underpin the debt financing of the satellite."
The US military will also use Jabiru-1 capacity as part of a deal announced earlier this year, worth $4.4 million.
The company also has plans to launch another satellite, called Jabiru-2, which will provide coverage in and around Australia. NewSat has previously said that it would like to provide services for regional areas under the government's National Broadband Network (NBN) plan; however, NBN Co selected Optus and IPstar instead to provide capacity on existing satellites while it prepares its own satellites for launch in 2015. NewSat has previously criticised NBN Co for failing to appoint it to the shortlist of vendors to provide the services.