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Successful launch of EUTELSAT KONNECT

The EUTELSAT KONNECT satellite was successfully launched into Geostationary Transfer Orbit by Arianespace using an Ariane 5 rocket that lifted off from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, at 9.05 pm Universal Time (10.05 pm CET) on 16 January.

The separation of the all-electric satellite occurred after a 27-minute flight and the spacecraft systems checkout was successfully completed over a period of 3 hours.

Built by Thales Alenia Space, the EUTELSAT KONNECT communications satellite, features all-electric propulsion and operates in Ka-band. It is the first satellite to use Thales Alenia Space’s all-electric Spacebus NEO platform, developed under the Neosat Partnership Project conducted by the European and French space agencies (ESA and CNES).

EUTELSAT KONNECT will assure full or partial coverage for up to 40 countries across Africa and 15 over Europe. Offering total capacity of 75 Gbps, by next autumn this high throughput satellite will allow the operator to provide Internet access services for both companies and individuals at up to 100 Mbps.

Rodolphe Belmer, CEO of Eutelsat: “Our congratulations to Arianespace and the Guiana Space Center teams for successfully launching our EUTELSAT KONNECT satellite towards geostationary orbit. The collaboration between Eutelsat, Thales Alenia Space and Arianespace on this ambitious satellite programme has resulted in a world-first broadband satellite for the African and European continents that demonstrates the suitability of satellite infrastructure as a means to deliver high quality broadband services, contributing to bridging the digital divide within rural areas.” 

Globecast partners with Eutelsat for launch of new HOTBIRD platform with Deutsche Welle HD as first customer

Globecast, a global solutions provider for media, is expanding its partnership with Eutelsat Communications to create a new HOTBIRD platform in order to satisfy the growing move from SD to HD in the market.


Samuel Lemercier, Strategic Projects Director, said, “We’ve seen increasing demand for capacity across Europe from west to east as the migration to HD on HOTBIRD continues to grow. TRT Arabi and Belarus 24 partnering with us for HD distribution earlier this year are prime examples. In order to meet this increasing demand, we have launched this new platform with Eutelsat, significantly increasing our DVBS2 capacity – suitable for HD and UHD for free-to-air DTH or distribution to affiliates – across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.”


In addition to expanded HOTBIRD capacity, the platform also includes ground segment services with connectivity to Globecast’s fibre network, Globecast Backbone Network, as well as to its media management capabilities.


German international public broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) is the first customer to take advantage, launching its flagship English language HD TV channel via this new Globecast service. This includes end-to-end channel contribution from DW’s facilities in Berlin to Globecast in Paris and uplinking from there. Globecast has worked with DW for many years, distributing their channels in both Asia and the Middle East.


Hubert Czaja, Head of Distribution Systems, Deutsche Welle, said, “We have worked with Globecast for quite some time and trust both their business and technical expertise and the quality of service they provide. We moved to HD across Asia several years ago and the time is now right to make the move in Europe to increase image quality for our viewers. We’re very pleased to extend our relationship with both Eutelsat and Globecast.”


Aymeric Genty, Regional Vice-President for France and Overseas, Benelux, the United Kingdom, the Nordics and Israel for Eutelsat, said, “Our partnership with Globecast is very important as HOTBIRD continues to experience growth in the HD market, notably for free-to-air and internationally renowned channels benefiting from this neighbourhood‘s unrivalled reach in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. This new platform provides cost-effective HD – and UHD – distribution as channels look to increase viewer engagement and satisfy the ever-growing demand for HD.”


Lemercier said, “Our relationship with Eutelsat is central to our channel distribution business and the operational model has long since been proven to provide the quality of service demanded by our customers. Using DVB-S2 allows us to be more efficient in the management of transponder capacity and therefore more cost-effective. This means we can efficiently support the ongoing migration to HD and to offer more bandwidth as and when required. We’re seeing a great deal of activity across the satellite market as channels continue to migrate to HD.”

Hybrid satellite and OTT solutions for Africa’s evolving broadcast landscape


Written by Christoph Limmer, Senior Vice President, Commercial Development and Strategic Partnership, Eutelsat.

Africa’s fast-evolving broadcast entertainment landscape has seen a surge in demand for content and over the top (OTT) solutions, which are widely promoted as the future of broadcast. As audiences demand improved image definition, however, questions have emerged around whether the broadcasting industry can deliver the content in optimum quality at the convenience of the viewers, irrespective of where they are. Combining linear TV via satellite and on-demand services via OTT offers a viable solution to this challenge.

The market

International OTT players have arrived across Africa. The launch of the likes of Amazon Prime and Netflix are posing a challenge for broadcasting operators who are looking to develop revolutionary services that are responsive to the audience’s need for accessible and high-quality content.

This has given regional players an opportunity to capitalise on the growing OTT trend. Live coverage of events, particularly sports, has been the key driver for OTT services in the region. Over time, however, telecom operators, media companies, broadcasters and pay-TV operators seem to have actively exploited the potential of the OTT market by launching standalone services as well as services that complement their existing setups.

OTT services depend on a shared network, where the bandwidth is used by a number of services. This can lead to quality issues when large amounts of internet bandwidth are consumed. During peak hours, and for popular content such as sports or TV series, OTT distribution amplifies network overloading, which can cause buffering, delays, poor picture quality and even loss of service.

Obviously, this has a major impact on customer satisfaction. So, should broadcasters choose a hybrid satellite/OTT delivery solution?

The solution

Satellites are a particularly cost-effective way to reach large numbers of viewers, particularly in regions with widely-dispersed populations and challenging environments. Satellite covers all households within the footprint, including those unable to access OTT services due to insufficient internet bitrates. This enables the service provider to supply all customers with a similar instantaneous service across regions. Furthermore, while OTT costs rise with the number of viewers, satellite costs remain fixed, making it a more cost-effective solution for broadcasters.

We’re seeing strong growth in satellite TV, with a recent Digital TV study of Sub-Saharan African pay-TV subscribers showing satellite and terrestrial television are the two infrastructures driving digital migration, with 19 million homes receiving via satellite; a number that will increase by another seven million by 2022.

There are also changes on the horizon, however. We are also seeing a move towards hybrid solutions involving both DTH and OTT, with OTT often used in addition to traditional services for viewers seeking on demand content as well as specific live programming.

Combining the best of both worlds, a hybrid offering of linear TV via satellite and on-demand services via OTT offers the most viable, future-ready solution to deliver a rich portfolio of video content. By enabling broadcasters to reduce the complexity and cost of their operations in a new digital world, we continue to enhance satellite efficiency, enabling clients to maximise their service potential while minimising the complexity of doing so.

Hybrid satellite OTT solutions will deliver an enriched viewer experience through live channel broadcasting, channel numbering, programme information, content security, subscriber and set-top box management. Furthermore, the seamless and integrated multi-screen user experience service that comes with the hybrid satellite-OTT solution has a complementary element that brings together the strengths of the traditional DTH broadcast service simultaneously with OTT streaming. The feature allows the audience to receive content on mobile devices, tablets or laptops with access to multiple programmes that can be recorded and rewound as well provide an array of programme information.

NHK partners with Eutelsat for the launch of the world’s first 8K channel

NHK, Japan’s national broadcaster, has partnered with Eutelsat Communications (NYSE Euronext: ETL) to launch the world’s first 8K network; BS8K. The live broadcast took place on 2 December from the Vatican where images were transmitted to Tokyo via EUTELSAT 12 West B satellite with a mobile uplink provided by M-three Satcom. This momentous event by NHK has broken new ground for 8K contribution via satellite.

To achieve the technologically challenging feat, NHK relied on DVB-S2X modulation, in 16APSK, and HEVC encoding. The images (7680 pixels over 4320 lines, an astounding 33.3 million pixels per image) were shot at 60 frames per second in BT2020 colour space, with 10 bits of colour depth (1 billion colours) and high dynamic range HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma), combined with 22.2 channel audio.

Airing today in Japan, BS8K features 8K Ultra HD footage of major cultural and sporting events, museums and natural landscapes, providing viewers with a fully immersive experience which will be broadcast 12 hours a day. The channel will allow for further experimentation with 8K prior to the large-scale deployment of the format for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics games in 2020.

Gerry O’Sullivan, executive vice president, Global TV and Video of Eutelsat: “Eutelsat has been a pioneer in delivering HD and Ultra HD formats since their inception, and this broadcast confirms satellite’s unique position as one of the vital technologies capable of broadcasting 8K signals. We look forward to working hand in hand with customers such as NHK as they continue to raise the bar higher for the broadcasting industry, to deliver the best possible video experience to viewers.”

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