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Saudi Ministry of Culture & Information Awards Major Contract to Newtec and First Gulf Company for TV and Radio Exchange Network

Major Infrastructure Initiative Enabling Satellite-Based DTT Expansion, HD Migration, Broadcaster Provision and IP Connectivity

Newtec and local integration company First Gulf Company are partnering to implement the next-generation television and radio exchange network of the Saudi Arabian government's nationwide media transformation programme. This groundbreaking initiative involves an unprecedented deployment of satellite-based technology for a national infrastructure delivering television, radio and Intranet services.

The TV and Radio Exchange network is a large deployment, providing a state-of-the-art solution for contribution between the studios and broadcast facilities located across the country, and for the exchange of radio and TV content between locations. The network's first stage of deployment will include HD-capable terminals and a central earth station pointed to Arabsat 5A, which successfully launched in June. The initial deployment will use Ku-band satellite bandwidth with the future option of Ka-band when the upcoming extra satellite capability becomes available.

"The provision of the best possible media and information infrastructure is a key priority for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," says Dr Riyadh Najm, Assistant Deputy Minister for Engineering at the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Culture and Information. "Our programme is now progressing well, and this radio and TV exchange implementation is a cornerstone of the infrastructure project, where we are pleased to work together with professional and experienced parties — an essential base."


Newtec's participation with its equipment in this major contract also contributes to provision for the expansion of Saudi Arabia's capacity for Digital Terrestrial TV (DTT) broadcasting, with the extra capacity being used both for migration to HD of the current channels, and to accommodate the first private broadcasters now appearing in the Kingdom. The DTT network will migrate from one single MFN bouquet to different SFN bouquets and will be entirely based on Newtec Horizon technology, with up to 80 DTT towers being added throughout the Kingdom. In addition, many SFN gap fillers will be added to expand indoor coverage. In-car, portable and indoor reception with a small antenna is critical for the acceptance of DTT in the country.

"Newtec's technology has made it possible to create a robust, highly efficient and advanced media infrastructure on a national scale. This is truly a groundbreaking project for the country, and First Gulf is proud to be playing its part," says Naim G. Saidi, DGM and CEO of First Gulf Company.

Saudi Arabia's ambitious multi-year programme, overseen by the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information (MOCI), will transform national TV and radio media provision for the Kingdom's young and growing demographic. The programme will take in the entire broadcast chain, from digitisation of high-definition terrestrial TV, through expansion of TV and radio contribution/distribution infrastructure, outside broadcasting (OB) and satellite news gathering (SNG) vehicles, studios, production and post-production, to archiving and playout facilities.

"We are very pleased to be working with First Gulf in this inspiring project," says Serge Van Herck, CEO of Newtec. "First Gulf's local knowledge and expertise are perfect complements to Newtec's technology, and the ambitious nature of the programme is a tremendous challenge that we shall enjoy meeting together."

About First Gulf

The First Gulf Company For Supplies and Contracting LTD was established in 2001. The company has diversified into many industries such as electronics, general contracting and trading. Over the past years, the company has built a good reputation supported by highly qualified professionals. The company was formed to create its business with a commitment to quality in order to provide the ideal solutions for each project. The staff of well qualified and trained engineers and technicians comes together to produce significant and high-quality engineering work. Today, FGC dominates the broadcast and systems integration business in Saudi Arabia, and rapidly growing in its other business of general contracting and telecom value-added services (VAS).


First Gulf

About Newtec

Newtec is a global industry leader, shaping the future of satellite communications. Offering state-of-the-art products and scalable, integrated solutions for broadcast, broadband access and backbone and trunking applications, Newtec helps customers achieve greater efficiency, increase performance and expand market reach. With its passionate commitment to R&D, Newtec remains in the forefront of technological development, continuing the pioneering contributions that have led to industry standards including DVB, DVB-S2, DVB RCS and iSatTV Cenelec pr EN50478. Newtec's worldwide customer base includes the industry's most prestigious broadcasters, satellite operators, telcos, systems houses and broadcasting unions. Established in 1985 and headquartered in Belgium, Newtec has regional offices as well as additional R&D centres located in Stamford, Conn. (U.S.), Singapore (Singapore), Beijing (China), Dubai (UAE), São Paulo (Brazil), Berlin (Germany) and France.