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June 2, 2011
Eutelsat Communications announced at the beginning of June that its KA-SAT High Throughput Satellite had gone live, bringing broadband speeds of up to 10Mbps to homes across Europe.
The activation of the satellite means that consumers and business users can now gain access to speeds equivalent to ADSL2 DSL services regardless of their location. According to Eutelsat, at least 13 million European households are still beyond the range of ADSL, while 17 million households can only get speeds below 2Mbps, limiting the types of services they can access.
The company said that the KA-SAT satellite sports 82 narrow spotbeams that connect to 10 ground stations. This system enables frequencies to be reused 20 times and has a total throughput of 70Gbps. KA-SAT offers a significant upgrade to Eutelsat’s Eurobird 3 satellite, which was only capable of providing 2Mbps downlink.
“The entry into service of KA-SAT, the world’s most powerful spotbeam satellite, turns a new page in affordable and immediately available IP solutions, and places Europe at the forefront of high-capacity satellite technologies that can serve to quickly close the broadband gap,” said Michel de Rosen, Eutelsat’s CEO in a statement. “We look forward to working with our service and technology partners to unleash the huge potential of this new pan-European wireless infrastructure.”
The service is available to end users via Eutelsat’s Skylogic affiliate Tooway. It provides a range of four standard packages via local country specific distributors offering speeds between 6-10Mbps for download and 1-4Mbps for upload with corresponding data allowances. In the UK, the top package (10Mbps down/4Mbps up) costs £99 a month, with a 25GB data allowance on a 24-month contract. The cheapest UK package at £24.99 a month offers 6Mbs download and 1Mbs up, with a 4GB cap.
A home install provides consumers with a small 77cm satellite dish and a modem that connects to a Mac or PC via Ethernet. Eutelsat said that the system can also meet the demands of professional users and deliver up to 40Mbps down and 10Mbps up, with 50Mbps down and 20Mbps upgrades on the way. Eutelsat suggested that its service would be well suited for newsgathering agencies with lightweight portable antennas providing uplink.
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