More satellite options for African broadcast market


Eutelsat, one of the world’s largest satellite operators and a core part of the African
broadcast infrastructure, has been present at DISCOP AFRICA for the last four years
and has used the occasion to introduce a new satellite for the African broadcast

Says Rodney Benn, regional vice president for Africa: “We introduced EUTELSAT 36B in
2009, which now hosts the pay-per-view platforms DStv and ZAP. In 2011 we
showcased EUTELSAT 16A. This satellite is the most important FTA platform for Africa
and broadcasts more than 25 French-speaking channels for sub-Saharan Africa. Last
year we introduced EUTELSAT 70B, offering powerful coverage over Eastern and
Central Africa.’

According to Benn, DISCOP AFRICA is an important event for Eutelsat. “We use the
occasion to meet and discuss with our clients and establish new contacts. Eutelsat
will also use the opportunity to introduce our new satellite EUTELSAT 3B that will be
launched early next year. This satellite will have C, Ku and Ka coverage over Africa
and will provide a real opportunity for the implementation of digital terrestrial
television (DTT) over the continent.

He continues: “Eutelsat is one of the world’s leading satellite operators with capacity
on 32 satellites; the vast majority of which have a strong reach across Africa. The
video market is one of the biggest parts of our business. Our satellites broadcast 700
channels for Africa, which represents over 50% of the 1 300 satellite TV channels
available across the continent.

“We are committed to furthering communications in the African market and recently
launched four new satellites, EUTELSAT 21B, EUTELSAT 70B, EUTELSAT 3D and
EUTELSAT 25B, all of which have extensive African coverage.

“In addition, three out of our next seven satellites to be launched will have capacity
for the African market and will bring cost-effective connectivity across the continent at
competitive rates.’

Benn mentions that the African broadcast market is moving fast, with the launch of
new pay-TV platforms, the transition to DTT and the emergence of HD.

“From our experience with analogue switch-off in European markets, we know that
satellite is vital for achieving a fully digital broadcast environment: for delivering
channels to national transmitter networks and for direct-to-home satellite reception of
DTT channels by homes beyond the range of terrestrial networks or with poor
reception,’ Benn adds.

He raises the important matter that satellite broadband represents a huge market
and has driven Eutelsat to pursue a number of initiatives, including a platform called
IPEasy for SMEs and residential users.

“This is a Ku-band platform operated on our EUTELSAT 16A satellite, which provides
broadband services that can be bundled with the reception of TV channels from the
same satellite for triple play.

“Satellite broadband can also distribute content via a Wi-Fi hot spot to small devices
like tablets and laptops. In addition to the family TV set, viewers can watch content
on low-energy tablets,’ Benn concludes.


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