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Eutelsat To Drive Satellite Broadband To New Frontiers With First Full KA-Band Satellite Infrastructure

by Staff Writers
Paris, France (SPX) Jan 16, 2008
Eutelsat Communications announced it has selected EADS Astrium to deliver its first satellite operating exclusively in Ka-band frequencies. The satellite will form the cornerstone of a major new satellite infrastructure programme that will significantly expand capacity for consumer broadband services across Europe and the Mediterranean Basin, while providing new opportunities for local and regional television markets.

Currently called KA-SAT and scheduled for launch in third quarter 2010, the satellite will be configured with over 80 spotbeams, making it the most advanced multi-spot satellite designed in the world to date. A network of eight gateways managed by Eutelsat, and which will provide access to KA-SAT and deliver the full range of services to end users, will form an integral part of the new infrastructure.

New capacity to join Eutelsat's HOT BIRD(TM) satellites
Eutelsat will locate KA-SAT at 13 degrees East where it will join three large HOT BIRD(TM) Ku-band broadcasting satellites that form the world's leading video neighbourhood. This collocation will enrich the range of consumer entertainment services offered from the Group's prime neighbourhood by enabling satellite homes to receive television in the Ku-band and new rich media services in the Ka-band through a single dual-frequency antenna.

In advance and in preparation of KA-SAT, Eutelsat is using Ka-band capacity on its HOT BIRD(TM) 6 satellite for a new consumer broadband service, launched in Europe at the end of 2007, and called Tooway(TM). The service is operated by the Group's broadband subsidiary Skylogic, in cooperation with ViaSat, a world-leader in powering innovative satellite platforms. Tooway(TM) uses ViaSat's well established SurfBeam(R) DOCSIS(R) system.

Uniting technology expertise and new collaboration with ViaSat
KA-SAT is the European equivalent to ViaSat-1, a high-capacity Ka-band broadband satellite ordered by ViaSat to serve the North American market and planned to launch in 2011. ViaSat and Eutelsat are cooperating closely around ViaSat's Ka-band SurfBeam(R) networking system and a similar wholesale business model that works through ISPs, telecommunications companies and pay-TV platforms to serve subscribers.

This collaboration builds on a long-standing relationship that has enabled the development and provision of ground-breaking broadband services for enterprise, in-flight, maritime and high-speed rail markets across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

KA-SAT marks a material step forward in multi-spot satellites, which are already demonstrating their efficiency for consumer Internet access, HDTV and local television broadcasting in hard-to-serve areas in North America. In particular, first-generation multi-spot satellites using ViaSat SurfBeam(R) DOCSIS(R) technology and operated by WildBlue and Telesat have already reached over 300,000 Internet subscribers since their launch in

2005. As a standard used by several tens of millions of cable customers worldwide, DOCSIS, together with powerful new Ka-band multi-spot satellites can facilitate important economies of scale to enable satellite-based consumer Internet services to achieve costs and bandwidth comparable to ADSL.

Breaking new barriers in capacity
The amount of bandwidth provided by KA-SAT, coupled with ViaSat's next generation SurfBeam(R) ground networking system, will take satellite operations to new levels of efficiency and capacity, delivering a total throughput of over 70 Gigabits per second. A watershed in satellite-based IP access, the new satellite and associated gateways will dramatically increase the number of addressable households to well beyond one million, with end-user speeds comparable to ADSL. This compares to several tens of thousands of professional users served today by existing Ku-band satellites serving Europe.

On signing the contract for KA-SAT with EADS Astrium, Giuliano Berretta, Chairman and CEO of Eutelsat said: "With their high power and broad coverage, today's Ku-band satellites are highly optimised for video broadcasting and professional data networks and are the core component of Eutelsat's satellite system.

With the announcement of our first full Ka-band programme, we are crossing a new frontier to a specifically designed infrastructure for interactive consumer services. And by combining this satellite infrastructure at our HOT BIRD(TM) neighbourhood with our Ku-band satellites optimised for broadcasting, we are in a unique position to expand the range of digital entertainment services available from a single neighbourhood to homes across Europe.

We will also leverage the substantial capacity available in the Ka-band for new opportunities for local and regional content. KA-SAT is also uniquely designed for transmitting new video applications requiring ultra high bit rates such as HD digital cinema and 3D television.

Through the satellite infrastructure programmes announced today by Eutelsat and ViaSat, and the collaboration between our two companies, consumer satellite broadband is making exciting progress in terms of efficiency and competitiveness and can have a substantial impact in resolving the digital divide. More than 15 million homes in Europe and as many in North America will still be beyond range of terrestrial broadband networks in 2010."

Procurement of the infrastructure
Based on the EUROSTAR E3000 platform, KA-SAT is the 17th satellite commissioned by Eutelsat from EADS Astrium. Designed to operate for 15 years, it will have a launch mass of 5.8 tonnes and a payload consuming more than 11 kW of power. Its solar arrays will generate 15 kW of power.

The procurement of this satellite and associated ground system forms part of the investment objective of Eutelsat Communications announced in October 2007 on the occasion of the Group's first quarter revenues for the 2007-2008 financial year.

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Radar Equipment From EADS To Be Deployed On TanDEM-X Satellite
Newport, Wales (SPX) Jan 03, 2008
EADS Defence and Security (DS) will equip the Earth observation satellite TanDEM-X with a special sophisticated radar system. The corresponding contract worth 26 million euros was awarded to DS by the company Astrium. The so-called Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) already proved its reliability and capabilities during the test phase of the TerraSAR-X satellite, which will be completed in the near future.

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