TONGAN COMPANY CLEARED OVER SATELLITE SLOT LOSS

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NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (April 30, 2000 - Tonga Chronicle/PINA Nius Online)---Tongasat was not at fault or negligent in the January loss of one of seven satellite orbital positions registered with the International Telecommunications Union, a Government committee has unanimously determined.

The Privy Council Satellite Consultation Committee, established to deal with all matters relating to satellites and Tongasat, reported that having independently investigated all relevant information relating to the filings, members unanimously concluded that Tongasat was not at fault or negligent.

The report was endorsed by the Privy Council during a meeting on April 14.

The Prime Minister's Office said that other information regarding the lost orbital slot could not be disclosed because of marketing developments still in progress.

Tongasat, more formally known as Tongan Satellite Communications Ltd., was established in the late 1980s to market the Kingdom's satellite orbital positions and remains the government's official agent in all matters related to the positions, to filings with the ITU, and to operating satellite networks.

In 1991, the ITU approved six slots for Tongasat. The seventh was approved the following year. The positions help connect the west coast of the United States of America with Asia, forming one of the world's most important telecommunications traffic streams, able to reach some 3.5 billion people.

For additional reports from the Tonga Chronicle, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Tonga Chronicle.

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