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Island’s satellite orbital slots not a priority Infrastructure Minister

Exploiting Bermuda’s allocation of the satellite orbital slots is not a number one priority, said Marc Bean, Minister of Infrastructure Strategy.

Speaking at a press conference to highlight his Ministry’s budget priorities for 2012-13, the Minister said that reforming the telecommunications industry was of more immediate importance.

“The space business initiative is not off the table, it’s just on the middle burner instead of the front burner,” he said.

Asked how far Bermuda had gone in moving the programme forward, he said: “Exploratory discussions. We are in discussions with operators, trying to present to them the advantages of setting up in Bermuda, but it hasn’t moved any further than preliminary talks.”

Mr Bean could not say how many slots Bermuda had, but said one of them was prime space real estate because it covered the United States.

“We didn’t ask for it but we are blessed to receive it.”

Government Estates Minister Michael Scott has championed the idea of generating extra revenue from the satellite orbital slots for several years.

In last year’s budget, $500,000 was allocated for the initiative when Mr Scott was Telecommunications Minister. That brought the total amount spent or allocated for the Island’s adventures in space since 2008 to about $3.5 million.

Yesterday at his post Budget press conference, Mr Scott made reference to the programme saying “The leasing of orbital space slots or rather, the sale of the ‘space real estate’ can generate upwards of many millions of dollars.”

At question time, he said that a dispute with Isle of Man over the lucrative slot over the US had been resolved in Bermuda’s favour.

Neither Mr Bean nor Mr Scott could immediately say how many slots had been allocated to Bermuda.

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Published March 02, 2012 at 1:00 am (Updated March 02, 2012 at 7:57 am)

Island’s satellite orbital slots not a priority Infrastructure Minister

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