Arianespace inking a a $300 million deal with NBN Co to send satellites into space was a big deal when it was announced in March. But while the deal was a big win for the French rocket firm, Arianespace’s regional director, Richard Bowles, said its importance goes “beyond Australia”.
“Whilst the interim service of the NBN is provided by a satellite based in Thailand, this whole idea of broadband networks will be picked up in other countries,” he said.
While his may not be to the same degree as Australia, as it is a big country and needs a lot of capacity, Bowles expect other small countries will pick up on it.
“In fact, Thailand is the first to have done so,” he said.
For that reason, Bowles said it was important to Arianespace to be part of the NBN.
“The image of Australia leading this wave is good for us, particularly as we will be a part of it,” he said.
“In a way we can build on that and help to build increase in other countries.”
With the economy in Australia “doing well” and a lot of Government investment in new programs, Bowles said the NBN was a good opportunity for a global business such as Arianespace, which launches approximately a dozen satellites a year.
Due to Australia’s location within Asia-Pacific, Bowles said the country is a good reference to its neighbours.
As proof of this, Bowles points to the link between Optus and Singapore.
“Not only have we launched all of the satellites for Optus since C1 satellite, we have also launched the satellites for Singapore,” he said.
Having lived in Singapore for 16 years, Bowles sees a synergy taking place.
“Historically, Britain was the Anglo Saxon English speaking influence in Singapore, but it is becoming more and more Australia,” he said.
“People think more of Australia in Singapore.”
However, Bowles admits that Australia has often been viewed as insular, adding that the country “does not seem to exist to a certain extent” for the media overseas.
“At least in Singapore, and other Asian countries such as Philippines and Indonesia, Australia does have a significant influence,” he said.
Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.