Eutelsat Communications has unveiled the next step in its broadband strategy for Africa with the order of a new-generation High Throughput Satellite that will increase reach and access; helping to bridge the digital divide gap in Africa.
To be launched in 2019, the all-electric satellite will be the first to use Thales Alenia Space’s new Spacebus Neo Platform, delivering an unprecedented operational flexibility. It will be powerful enough for direct-to-user consumer and enterprise broadband services using dishes from approximately 75cm and will feed WiFi hot spots, provide mobile backhauling services and rural connectivity.
The new satellite will have the power to provide 75 Gbps of capacity across a network of 65 spotbeams that together deliver quasi-complete coverage of Western, Central, Eastern and Southern Africa.
This technology will be critical for Africa’s transformation plans, providing a far more cost effective solution for ensuring Universal Access in sub-Saharan Africa and complementing the services offered by terrestrial network operations. Recent studies from the World Bank find that a 10% increase in broadband penetration is correlated with a 1,3% increase in GDP.
Commenting on the contract, Michel de Rosen, Chairman and CEO of Eutelsat, says: “We are excited by the opportunity to bring the most advanced satellite broadband technologies to Africa. With the Spacebus Neo platform proposed by Thales Alenia Space we are pushing new boundaries in High Throughput Satellites in order to deliver quality and affordable broadband services in the many African countries where increasing Internet penetration is a key priority.”
Eutelsat’s African broadband business, including sales will be managed by its newly created London-based affiliate. Eutelsat also has the option in the coming months to upscale the satellite to increase significantly overall throughput and service areas.