Teletimes: Russian Satellite Communications Company. 50 years in orbit

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Dr. Andrey Kirillovich, RSCC Director of Integration Services and Projects, speaks about RSCC history, current business and future prospects.

In November 1967, two years after a first phone call via communications satellite was made across the Atlantics, a first TV distribution satellite network was deployed in Russia delivering TV broadcasting signal from Moscow across Siberia to Far East region in the Pacific coast. Transmission was made via Molnia satellite located on the High Elliptical Orbit allowing people leaving in the eastern parts of the country to watch TV programing from the capital. This is how RSCC has been established.


During last five decades the company has made a trilling journey from a small broadcasting teleport pioneering satellite TV distribution and working via HEO satellite to a successful GEO satellite operator, operating in 52 countries with 5 world-class  teleports, 12 satellites in orbit and solid customers’ base, who has become an integral part of the global satcom industry.


With every new generation of satellites, from Molnia to Ekran, Horizont, and further with Express series (A, AM and recent generation - AMU), RSCC has been increasing its capabilities and expanding its service portfolio horizontally and vertically.


Horizontal expansion included better coverage of the domestic region with dedicated beams for certain communications and broadcasting applications over Russia, plus new regional beams opening new geographical regions abroad. As a result, RSCC is now a satellite operator #1 in Russia/Central Asia region holding 70% of the domestic Russian market. Originally aimed at meeting the needs of Russian customers in the beginning of its history, RSCC then started providing international carriers to domestic customers, and later turned into a pure international commercial operator. Today around 40% of the company’s revenues come from international sales. RSCC is one of the key players in the Middle East, supporting its regional and European customers. Besides RSCC successfully operates in North and Sub Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America.


Vertical expansion included moving down the value chain in specific applications like enterprise networks, communications-on-the-move, consumer broadband and TV distribution. RSCC nowadays provides turnkey solutions for its customers in the majority of satellite based applications using its unique 50 years expertise, diversified satellite constellation scattered from 14 West to 145 East GEO locations and ground infrastructure supporting all customer needs.


A well balanced mix of various orbital locations, frequency bands, fixed and spot beams with cross-strapping options, vertical applications and geographical regions, as well as a  network of regional partners and teleports, all this provides a unique opportunity for delivering communications and broadcasting services almost all around the globe.


RSCC is a dynamic company offering its customers a vast variety of solutions, helping them to gain an advantage at certain geographical and vertical markets. The result is a significant number of loyal customers working with the company for 10 years and more.


RSCC is constantly renewing its orbital fleet. In the period from 2013 to 2015 seven new satellites were successfully launched, and now RSCC operates one of the youngest satellite constellations, where average lifetime of the satellite is not exceeding 5 years. This is highly valued by the customers who can sign up for a long term contracts and be sure they do not need to change the satellite in near future.


RSCC also uses most advanced solutions in its new satellites including electric propulsion, Ka-band HTS capacity, frequency reuse, etc. RSCC also operates 5 world-class teleports providing uplink/downlink services and TT&C services for other satellite operators.


After 50 years of working on Russian and international satellite and broadcasting markets it is worth highlighting the following achievements of the company:


  1. Three prime DTH and video distrubution neighborhoods in Russia.
  2. More than 400 Russian and foreign TV channels broadcasted via RSCC satellites.
  3. Two multiplexes of Russian national TV channels broadcasted to 5 time zones.
  4. TV contribution platforms in Russia, Europe, Middle East and South Asia.
  5. Regional cellular backhaul networks in Sub-Saharan Africa, Russia and Central Asia.
  6. Maritime networks in Mediterranean and Baltic seas, Persian Bay, Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans.
  7. Widest consumer broadband network in Ka-band scattering for 7 thousand kilometers.
  8. Proprietary enterprise network covering EMEA region with 1000+ VSATs.


Besides, RSCC has got unique service offerings for both domestic and international markets. Like the universal platform for distribution of TV content across Russia, when a broadcaster or content provider interested in distribution of content over Russia just needs to bring a signal to Moscow, and RSCC delivers it to 90% of DTH and CATV subscribers in Russia.


On international market company offers a unique solution for connecting Europe, North Africa, Middle East and South Asia. A prime capacity offering includes wide area Ku-band beams enhanced by spot beams providing seamless coverage with very high power parameters from UK across Europe, Middle East up to South Asia.


Also one of RSCC’s strengths is that when a customer starts working at anyof  Express-AM satellites in one region, RSCC can offer him an organic expansion of its network into a new region or vertical with minimum capex, very often on the same satellite. A good example is a few European customers, who have expanded their business together with RSCC from Europe to Middle East, Maghreb, then Sub Saharan Africa, South Asia and then Latin America. Some of long term customers have grown together with the Russian satellite operator from pure trunking circuits to enterprise networks, cellular backhaul, COTM and TV contribution applications.


Building long term relationships with customers and flexibility in meeting customers’ needs are distinguished features of RSCC, who helps its customers to offer market a good value proposition, based on the fair combination of price and quality.