Contract signed for Global
Communications Infrastructure -
Another milestone in establishing
global verification regime
to monitor CTBT

Today, CTBTO PrepCom and the international partnership Hughes Olivetti Telecom Ltd. (HOT) signed a $70 million contract to establish the global communications infrastructure for verifying compliance with the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

"The contract is a milestone in the task of establishing the global verification regime envisioned by the Treaty" said the Executive Secretary of CTBTO PrepCom, Wolfgang Hoffmann, at today´s signing ceremony, three days before the second anniversary of the Treaty´s adoption.

For the next 10 years, the international partnership will provide turnkey services covering the design, installation, management, operation and maintenance of a complex global network of very small aperture satellite terminals (VSAT). These will ensure the swift and secure transport of data between 337 worldwide monitoring facilities, the International Data Centre at Vienna and the Treaty´s signatory States (currently 150).

The contract represents the largest single item of expenditure in CTBTO PrepCom´s verification activities to implement the Treaty. The activities involve putting in place the 321 monitoring stations - supported by 16 laboratories - listed in the Treaty. These facilities will continuously monitor the globe for evidence of nuclear explosions and transmit, via the VSAT network, a constant stream of data generated by natural and man-made events to the International Data Centre for processing and analysis. From Vienna, raw and processed data will then be transmitted, via the network, to the signatory States for review and consideration. By April 1999, 30 monitoring stations should be connected by VSAT to the International Data Centre in Vienna.

The global VSAT network will link monitoring stations from Antarctica to Greenland, and in places as far apart as, for instance, the Galapagos Islands, Dar es Salaam, Chittagong and Okinawa. Most of the stations are in remote locations often exposed to extreme temperatures and severe weather conditions. The network will have to provide effective error-free transport of up to 11.4 gigabytes of data daily within five seconds of detecting and processing signals from events. It will also have to operate for 99.5 per cent of the time over 365 days a year and be capable of functioning in temperatures between -40 and 60 degrees Celsius and during wind speeds of up to 100 kilometres an hour. The network will deploy the latest communications technology and will itself be continuously monitored and adjusted to ensure continuous high performance and protection from unauthorized access.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty bans any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion anywhere in the world. Drafted at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and adopted by the General Assembly on 10 September 1996, the Treaty was opened for signature on 24 September 1996 at the United Nations in New York.

For further information on the CTBTO, please see www.ctbto.org or contact:
Annika Thunborg, Chief, Public Information  
T    +43 1 26030-6375  
E    annika.thunborgping@ctbtopong.org
M    +43 699 1459 6375       
I    www.ctbto.org