Editorial from El Diario, you can also read our earlier [09/21/2014] post here:
A poignant question has been worrying for several years to the opinion of the country: the existence of the Túpac Katari Satellite, bought by the government of President Evo Morales to the Republic of China for just over 300 million dollars. In the first place, its existence was questioned, but once that question was fixed, another one jumped, which consisted of its operation and if it really offered positive services to the country.
These questions finally received some answers that confirmed that the Chinese satellite, after five years of existence, leaves much to be desired, is not financed in its operations and, despite these and other problems, the government plans to acquire, from the Asian power, another similar device for similar or greater price than the first.
In the first place, the director of the Bolivian Space Agency revealed in a press conference -based on a survey- that 60 percent of the country’s urban population considers that this state service is “not beneficial”, an assessment that he confirmed in, to a great extent, the director of that unit, indicating that, in effect, its performance as “regular” or “below regular”, according to some technicians.
The official statement noted that the population of the cities does not use satellite services and only reaches the rural sector, which in percentage only reaches about 30 percent, which would mean that it is far from universalizing telecommunications services in the country, such as access to television and radio.
On the other hand, he also maintained that the Agency has 65 employees who demand salaries of 13 million bolivianos, which would represent an average annual income of 200 thousand bolivianos for each one of them. At the same time, he said that satellite insurance and ground equipment could be paid. Regarding income generation, he noted that more than one hundred million dollars were generated by the satellite services to amortize the Chinese credit that financed the project that will end up being paid for up to 15 years.
But as for the most notable of the economic activity of this Agency, the authority stressed that it registers high dependence on income of the National Communications Company (ENTEL), is not for profit and that a new satellite that would acquire the country, would take about three years for its launch, which would mean that the Túpac Katari Satellite, considered a “white elephant”, will have another pachyderm as a couple.