Goodbye Goonhilly: Satellite service to be shuttered

Dishing out the bad news
Written by Steve Ranger, Global News Director

Dishing out the bad news

BT has revealed plans to move its satellite communications business away from Goonhilly in Cornwall.

The site is the largest satellite Earth station in the world, with 61 dishes.

But a BT spokesman said it was no longer "commercially viable" for the company to operate two satellite Earth stations, and so all of Goonhilly's satellite communications would be shifted to BT's other satellite station - Madley in Herefordshire - within the next two years.

Around 90 jobs are affected but BT said it will try to redeploy staff.

Goodbye Goonhilly?

silicon.com visited Goonhilly last month. Click here for a photo story featuring its biggest dishes.

The oldest dish on the site - Arthur - is likely to remain in place because it is a grade II listed building. Arthur, which was built to track the Telstar satellite, received the first live transatlantic television broadcasts from the US in 1962.

The site will continue to act as a landing point for undersea cables and the visitors' centre - which attracts around 80,000 tourists each year - is likely to remain.

The site currently handles around 10 million telephone calls per week as well as data, fax, videoconferencing and telex communications from the Atlantic and Indian Ocean areas, as well as some television broadcasts.

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