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Eutelsat launches high-capacity satellite for broadband

The French company says that KA-SAT will provide residential broadband with download speeds of up to 10Mbps and uploads of 4Mbps in Europe and some parts of northern Africa
Written by Ben Woods, Contributor

A satellite that will be used to provide residential broadband connections for Europe, northern Africa and some parts of the Far East has been successfully launched, French satellite company Eutelsat announced on Monday.

KA-SAT broadband satellite image

KA-SAT broadband satellite has launched. Photo credit: EADS Astrium

The Ka-band satellite — known as KA-SAT — launched on 26 December. It has a capacity of up to 70Gbps. KA-SAT has been designed by Eutelsat to provide broadband coverage for Europe and some parts of northern Africa and is expected to be fully operational for residential broadband subscribers from late in the second quarter of 2011.

"By combining a satellite equipped with more than 80 spotbeams and a network of ground stations, this new programme will deliver more capacity than any other satellite programme deployed worldwide," Michel de Rosen, Eutelsat chief executive, said. "These new resources will in particular benefit internet service providers, enabling them to extend broadband to consumers and enterprises in areas unserved by terrestrial networks."

Eutelsat will not offer the service directly to consumers, instead selling the service wholesale to providers that will then resell the connections. Pricing for the service is currently unavailable.

The satellite will provide download speeds of up to 10Mbps and upload speeds of up to 4Mbps for Eutelsat's Tooway consumer broadband service, a company spokesperson told ZDNet UK on Wednesday. There is potential for higher speeds in the future, the spokesperson said. Until KA-SAT, Tooway provided a maximum download speed of 4Mbps.

On 26 November Avanti communications successfully launched its own broadband satellite — Hylas 1 — capable of delivering up to 10Mbps download and 2Mbps upload broadband to around 350,000 homes.

Hylas 1 is due to begin serving customers in Europe — with the exception of Scandinavia — with satellite broadband connections for from £25 per month in the first quarter of 2011.

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