PERTH-based broadband service provider BinCom Satellite Systems Limited has started a $4.5 million Initial Public Offering.It has lodged a prospectus with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission for the issue of up to 17,867,600 fully-paid shares at an issue price of 25¢ together with a free attaching option, on the basis of one attaching option for every two shares to raise up to $4.466 million.The directors have discretion to accept oversubscriptions to raise up to a further $1 million.Following the issue, BinCom will have 54,977,160 shares on issue (excluding oversubscriptions) giving it a market capitalisation of approximately $13.7 million at the 25¢ issue price.In June this year, the company started commercial services through a voice and data gateway from its first Network Control Centre in Perth. A second metropolitan NCC is being developed in Darwin to bring significant bandwidth services to northern Australia.BinCom plans to launch a second gateway in Perth during the last quarter of 2000 to deliver high-speed broadband services such as interactive multimedia, online interactive tele-education and Internet services. A third gateway for delivery of multipoint videoconferencing and tele-health services may be accelerated if existing high demand continues.BinCom’s voice and data satellite services use Very Small Aperture Technology (VSAT) which provides a platform to carry both narrow band and broadband services to metropolitan and rural Australia.BinCom managing director Brenton Woods said VSAT technology was a low-cost, flexible solution to the bandwidth gap between metropolitan and regional Australia.“While the so-called ‘value-added’ data transmission sector of the Australian telecommunications market is growing rapidly – at rates of up to 25 per cent per annum – the demand for new high-speed services is not being met in rural and remote regions of the country,” Mr Woods said.“Despite its enormous size, Australia is one of the few countries in the world which does not have a full-service regional telecommunications infrastructure – a feature which has led to under-servicing of the regional markets.“We see this as a significant long-term business opportunity for satellite communications technology.”Mr Woods said Australia had lagged behind other countries in the introduction of VSAT technology.“Prior to the privatisation of Telstra, successive Australian governments had made substantial investments in the public switched network, and were reluctant to develop or maintain a domestic satellite network,” he said.“The position of incumbent carriers like Telstra creates a significant opportunity for new market entrants such as BinCom to capture market share in Australia as the incumbents are forced to search overseas for new growth opportunities.”
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