PARIS, October 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
Satellite broadcasting in the Middle East and North Africa will soon be gaining powerful new broadcasting resources following the order announced today by Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL) of a new satellite from Thales Alenia Space. Called EUTELSAT 8 West B, the high-capacity spacecraft will be launched in 2015 to 8° West, joining satellites already operated at the adjacent 7° West position by Eutelsat and the Egyptian satellite company, Nilesat. Broadcasting services from both positions are received by satellite TV homes with a single small Direct-to-Home dish.
With a rapidly growing audience and channel line-up, the 7/8° West video neighbourhood is one of the most dynamic in the global satellite TV market. Over 30 million homes in North Africa and the Middle East are already equipped for DTH reception of more than 800 Arabic and international channels broadcast at this position by Eutelsat and Nilesat. Free-to-air accounts for the majority of the offer (500 channels), while HD take-up is accelerating, currently representing 50 channels. The additional capacity will meet further expansion in a satellite broadcasting market where capacity demand for video services is forecast to grow by 6.8% a year over the coming five years (source Euroconsult). HDTV channels are expected to increase fourfold over the coming ten years.
The EUTELSAT 8 West B satellite will be equipped with 40 operational Ku-band transponders designed primarily to serve DTH markets in North Africa and the Middle East. It will also introduce a C-band mission to 8° West, with 10 operational transponders connected to footprints covering the African continent and reaching west to South America.
To respond to the popularity of the 7/8° West neighbourhood, Eutelsat will redeploy an existing high-power Ku-band satellite to 8° West in 2013. This will increase resources in advance of the launch of EUTELSAT 8 West B, enabling more broadcasters to benefit from a prime neighbourhood.
Michel de Rosen, Eutelsat CEO said: "We want to ensure we are giving broadcasters the finest quality of service and headroom to grow their business. This new satellite programme will further equip us to deliver the highest quality of service at a video neighbourhood experiencing record demand for reaching TV homes across the Middle East and North Africa. We are also pleased to renew our confidence in Thales Alenia Space with this new order from their most state-of-the-art range of spacecraft."
"We are both pleased and proud to sign this important contract today with Eutelsat," said Jean Loic Galle, President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space. "Our teams will deploy the full range of their skills and expertise to construct this new satellite and support our customer's development. We thank Eutelsat for placing their trust in us. EUTELSAT 8West B is the 25th satellite built by Thales Alenia Space for Eutelsat, and it will be the 74th satellite in the Spacebus family to enter service in the global space telecommunications market."
About Thales Alenia Space
The European leader in satellite systems and a major player in orbital infrastructures, Thales Alenia Space is a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Finmeccanica (33%). Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio embody the two groups' "Space Alliance". Thales Alenia Space sets the global standard in solutions for space telecommunications, radar and optical Earth observation, defense and security, navigation and science. With consolidated revenues of 2.1 billion euros in 2011, Thales Alenia Space has 7,500 employees in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Belgium and United States.
About Eutelsat Communications
Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL, ISIN code: FR0010221234) is the holding company of Eutelsat S.A. With capacity commercialised on 29 satellites that provide coverage across Europe, as well as the Middle East, Africa and significant parts of Asia and the Americas, Eutelsat is one of the world's three leading satellite operators. As of 30 June 2012 Eutelsat's satellites were broadcasting more than 4,250 television channels to over 200 million cable and satellite homes in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The Group's satellites also serve a wide range of fixed and mobile telecommunications services, TV contribution markets, corporate networks, and broadband markets for Internet Service Providers and for transport, maritime and in-flight markets. Eutelsat's broadband subsidiary, Skylogic, markets and operates high speed Internet services through teleports in France and Italy that serve consumers, enterprises, local communities, government agencies and aid organisations in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. Headquartered in Paris, Eutelsat and its subsidiaries employ just over 750 commercial, technical and operational professionals. This culturally diverse staff comprises employees from 30 countries. http://www.eutelsat.com.
SOURCE Eutelsat Communications & Thales Alenia Space