California State University and California Community Colleges Satellite Initiative Update
The California State University Satellite Project (CSUSAT) began in January 1996 as part of the California State University (CSU) Integrated Technology Strategy. Its design represents an active and effective method of leveraging the external networking infrastructure to connect CSU campuses to their communities.
The project involves a five-year lease of a percentage of transponder time equivalent to two channels on the Hughes Communications Galaxy V (SBS-5) satellite.
CSUSAT has a five year $2 million lease with funding provided by both the Commission on the Extended University (CEU) and the Commission on Telecommunications Infrastructure (CTI). Funding authorization specified support for both the lease cost of the satellite time and the construction of an uplink facility in Southern California at the CSU Chancellor's Office WestEd facility.
As part of the new CSU and California Community Colleges (CCC) data and video network implementation project (4CNet), a CSU/CCC committee met in the spring of 1997 and agreed to an MPEG-2 standard for future satellite transmission.
During the spring 1996 term, Chico was the only campus that delivered programs via CSUSAT. In the fall 1996 term, five CSU institutions (Chico, Dominguez Hills, Long Beach, Fresno, and Sacramento) provided programming using CSUSAT. Several other campuses submitted proposals but did not actually offer programming.
Network control center (NCC) facilities and services will need to be acquired through this project to provide a means by which CSU technicians may view, adjust, and switch analog audio/video signals designated as input sources to the KU satellite uplink. The purpose of the NCC is to serve as an origination "headend" and electronic hub for routing and monitoring various audio/video baseband signals and input sources to a KU uplink earth station that will be furnished and installed by others.
There are two technical issues that must also be addressed:
The CSU and CCV satellite committees are meeting to resolve these issues.
The CSU Chancellor's Office Division of Information Resources and Technology (CO/IRT) operates and maintains for the CSU system a well-established, entrenched DS-3 digital backbone network supporting data and compressed video services.
Although the CSU maintains a KU mobile satellite uplink which takes advantage of C and KU uplink stations operated by its Chico campus, and has some fiber, cable, and microwave connectivity to other uplink sources, programming and technical demands necessitated that a KU analog satellite uplink be placed at the CSU primary data communications center in Los Alamitos.
There are a number of satellite compressed digital video products on the market today. The three products that most closely match CSU and CCC requirements and recommended by Skjei Telecom, Inc., the consultant firm retained by CSU, are from NextLevel Systems, Scientific-Atlanta, and Wegener.