1worldspace is the only company with rights to the world's globally allocated spectrum for digital satellite radio. However, it currently has no plans to make use of its license to broadcast to the Americas or the Caribbean. The company gained attention around 2000 because of its willingness to invest in impoverished areas and from 2006 to the present due to its financial difficulties. The company was known as "WorldSpace" until July 2008.
1worldspace's program directors and radio jockeys operate from studios in Washington, DC, Bangalore, and Nairobi, where 18 original music and lifestyle channels are created for distribution. Four of these stations are also available in the United States on the XM Satellite Radio network.
The 1worldspace system was built with companies including Alcatel Space (now Thales Alenia Space), EADS Astrium and Arianespace (France), SED (Canada), GSI (USA), Fraunhofer Institute (Germany), ST Microelectronics (Italy), Micronas (Germany) and others.
The orbiting satellites, AfriStar 1 and AsiaStar, and the satellite in storage are Matra Marconi Eurostar 2000+ buses built by Alcatel Space and EADS Astrium, formerly known as Matra Marconi Space. Both are geostationary orbit satellites broadcasting programs in the L-Band frequency (1452-1492 MHz range). Each of the two satellites has three downlink spot beams, with each beam covering approximately 14 million square kilometers of the earth. The AfriStar 1 satellite, launched in October 1998, is located at the 21º East Longitude orbital location with beams covering all regions of Africa, the Mediterranean basin countries, the Middle East and parts of Europe. The AsiaStar satellite, launched in March 2000, is located at the 105º East Longitude orbital location with beams covering India, China, the southern part of Russia, and southeast Asia. Plans to launch a third satellite, AmeriStar (a.k.a. CaribStar), to serve South America, Latin America, and the Caribbean from 95.0° west longitude were not carried out as the L-band frequencies used by 1worldspace are commandeered by the United States Air Force. This satellite was reconfigured and is now known as AfriStar 2. AfriStar 2 was to be launched to 21.0° east longitude in August 2007. This satellite, not yet launched as of the present, is intended to expand coverage for Western Europe in addition to the existing coverage of AfriStar 1, which it will eventually replace. 1worldspace will use ETSI Satellite Digital Radio (SDR) open standard in the new European coverage beam. It is currently in storage at EADS Astrium’s and Thales Alenia Space facilities in Toulouse, France and Stevenage, U.K. A fourth satellite of identical design, for which long lead parts have been procured and partially assembled, is also maintained in storage in Toulouse, France and can be integrated and tested for launch in an abbreviated period of time.
Each satellite has a design life of twelve years, with an orbital maneuver life of 15 years, which means that each satellite has been designed and fueled to maintain its assigned orbital position (within 0.1 degrees) for 15 years. After that point, the satellite must be decommissioned. The AfriStar satellite has developed a defect in its solar panels. As a result of this defect, the energy collected by those panels is less than intended. Based upon the past few years, operational experience with this issue and consultations with Astrium, it is believed that the defect’s likely effect is limited to potential satellite power inadequacy during solar eclipses. In consultation with Astrium, the company has implemented operational procedures that would extend the useful life of the satellite through careful management of the power generated by the solar arrays. Such procedures, which are expected to be invoked only during the critical eclipse periods, may result in a temporary and relatively insignificant reduction of the power radiated by one or more of its beams with a resulting reduction of the broadcast coverage area.
Telemetry, command and ranging (TCR) stations consist of an X-Band uplink command and control system and an L-Band telemetry monitoring system. A backup mode has also been provided using an S Band link from Bangalore, India. Each satellite has two TCR stations with sufficient geographic distance between them so that if natural disasters or any unforeseen events were to make one inoperable, a back-up station will be available. The TCR stations for AfriStar are located in Bangalore, India and Port Louis, Mauritius, and the ones for AsiaStar in Melbourne, Australia and Port Louis, Mauritius.
In addition to the TCR stations, a communications system monitoring station (CSM) is associated with each satellite to monitor continuously the quality of the downlink services. The CSM facilities are located in Libreville, Gabon for AfriStar and Melbourne, Australia for AsiaStar.
The radio sets, or receivers, which can pick up 1worldspace signals are manufactured by South Korea's AMI, India's BPL and China’s Tongshi, among other corporations. Discontinued models were manufactured by JVC, Sanyo, Hitachi, and Panasonic. The radios consist of a satellite receiver plus an antenna that has to be placed in clear view of the relevant satellite, and properly orientated to the user's geographic azimuth and elevation. A new receiver manufactured by Delphi using open standard ETSI Satellite Digital Radio technology will be used in Europe if and when the company enters the market.
1worldspace is currently in a financial crisis. In the first quarter of 2008 the company lost a net total of 2676 subscribers and reported that it would scale back its marketing activities around the world. WorldSpace recorded a $36.0 million net loss in the second quarter of 2008, up from a net loss of $51.2 million in the second quarter of 2007. Throughout the past year the company has been in deep debt and currently owes its creditors over $50 million, due to be payed in September.
In August 2008, two of the top executives of 1worldspace announced their resignations. Greg Armstrong, co-COO, left effective on August 1 and Alexander Brown, co-COO, has given notice of his intention to leave.
WorldSpace named noted Indian composer A.R.Rahman as its brand ambassador in India where 90% of its customers are located, and unveiled an integrated marketing communication campaign across print and visual media featuring an exclusive signature tune composed by Mr. Rahman.
In July 2008, WorldSpace changed its brand and corporate identity to 1worldspace.
First Voice International is a non-profit organization that tries to ensure that people living in poverty and remote places get the information they need to improve their lives, have the means to communicate their needs and wants, are able to share what they know with others - in their own voice. The organization attempts to reach the most people for the least cost by combining satellite and other technologies. By bypassing the isolating effects of illiteracy and remoteness, the organization routinely delivers information to people in areas lacking electricity, telephone or Internet service.
WorldSpace Foundation Introduces Public Health Multimedia Channel For Africans.(Company Business and Marketing)
May 22, 2000; An innovative public health multimedia channel has been established by the WorldSpace Foundation to assist medical professionals...