(CNN) -- A Thai-owned communications satellite was launched early Thursday off French Guiana, officials said. Billed as the world's largest, the satellite will provide Internet access and multimedia services for the Asia-Pacific region, Australia and New Zealand.

The launch of the satellite was set for 6:39 GMT Thursday (2:39 a.m. ET), but was more than an hour and a half late after the countdown was halted at the 7-minute mark.

The Web site of Arianespace, the company that conducted the launch, said the delay was called during the two-hour launch window to verify telemetry readings from the Ariane 5 launcher.

The satellite, called Thaicom 4, will be operated by Shin Satellite, a company owned by the family of Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and is the fourth satellite launched by the company. It weighs more than 7 tons and cost $400 million, and was built by Space Systems/Loral in Palo Alto, California

The satellite has bandwidth capacity of 45 gigabytes per second and will route data through 18 gateways.

The launch was broadcast live on Thai television.

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