BrightStar, thanks to 1,500 kgs of the latest in high-tech communications equipment
valued at over U.S. $300,000, enabled many television viewers around the world to
learn about Cambodia's peaceful elections before those in Cambodia did themselves.
For all the TV camera crews in town, all it took was U.S. $1,800 and ten minutes
of live or taped footage could be beamed by satellite anywhere around the globe.
So, couch potatoes in Osaka, Manchester or Timbuktou may have known that voting was
proceeding in an orderly fashion before voters in Phnom Penh had returned home to
tell grandma that it was safe to go out and cast her ballot.
"We've had ten different clients so far," said Richard Hradsky-Fisher,
technical coordinator for BrightStar Communications, the London-based firm that guarantees
live satellite feeds from almost any point on earth.
With an average of 12 feeds per day BrightStar, recently acquired by Reuters Television,
may have grossed a handsome U.S.$150,000 during their recent one-week stint in Phnom
It took Hradsky-Fisher three days to fly out from London with equipment in tow for
Cambodia's elections. Once the equipment was set up in the front of the Renakse Hotel
the next step was finding the Intelsat satellite up in the sky to begin transmission.
"There's a big calculation that you do once on a little computer," said
Hradsky-Fisher, describing how he determines the satellite dish's longitude and latitude.
"Once you know that we aim the dish and we're ready to go," he said.
This was Hradsky-Fisher's third visit to Cambodia. BrightStar set up their gear in
a cowshed in Takeo for the arrival of the Japanese battalion last fall and also broadcast
live from the grounds of Angkor Wat in December.