On June 9, China's first direct broadcast satellite, the Chinasat-9, launched successfully from a satellite launching center in Xichang, Sichuan Province. The Chinasat-9 is designed to transmit unencrypted television programs, and will be used for the transmission of 47 programs (some high-definition) to the remote Western reaches of the country. Residents in those areas need only install satellite receivers to access the content free-of-charge. The satellite will make money from selling bandwidth to satellite television stations throughout China.
According to a source at the technology bureau of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), Chinasat-9 will primarily service remote rural regions which cannot receive normal television or radio signals. It is not yet clear whether the programs will be available free of charge in urban areas.