Website: Rapid TV News
While Eutelsat has made no secret of its ambitions to – over time – win 750,000 two-way broadband users to its upcoming Ka-Sat satellite, SES Astra is certainly not ignoring the potential of satellite-delivered broadband.
The difference between Eutelsat and SES Astra is one of market deployment.
Eutelsat’s giant Ka-Sat will launch later this year and new CEO Michel de Rosen’s job is to “step by step” see the satellite’s impressive spot-beam technology used to speedily generate around €100m a year in revenues from the craft.
SES Astra’s approach is also ‘step by step’, but instead of financing a single, dedicated Ka-band satellite, it will instead add smaller Ka-band cargoes to a number of upcoming satellite launches.
This additional capacity will be used to further build on its ASTRA2Connect system.
For that reason, Astra says it will invest in Ka-band capacity dedicated especially for satellite broadband, and deploy these new two-way broadband networks in markets where Astra has a strong presence and a well-established distribution network.
Astra’s incremental Ka-band payload will be carried on the upcoming ASTRA 2E, 2F and 2G, procured in November 2009.
Each of these satellites are equipped with three steerable spot-beams each, which allows Astra to adapt the payload according to the needs of the market.
In addition, the inclusion of steerable beams has the advantage that it provides simpler launch failure mitigation.
This means that Astra can always serve two out of three markets in case of a single launch failure. Astra’s experience is this area was tough when it lost its own Astra 1K all-Ka satellite back in November 2002.
These smaller Ka-band payloads for satellite broadband will allow SES Astra to increase its commercial activities and the company says it will meet the demands for satellite broadband in its European key markets.
Either way, European satellite users, especially those living in remote areas will have no excuse for ignoring the rush to broadband.
Eutelsat’s Tooway, and Astra2Connect will cover Europe with their signals soon enough.