Satellite Broadband Ireland (SBI) has signed a commercial agreement with Eutelsat Communications to sell broadband services via KA-SAT, the world’s most powerful commercial satellite. The initial 3-year broadband utility contract, worth more than 5m, will allow SBI to sell Eutelsat’s next-generation Tooway™ satellite broadband service, with download speeds of up to 10 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 4 Mbps. SBI will start to deliver the service in Ireland and plans to expand across Europe.

The Tooway™ service will be provided via Eutelsat’s innovative KA-SAT satellite, which was launched in December 2010 and is on track
to enter into full commercial service in May 2011. KA-SAT’s approach is based on next-generation two-way wireless Ka-band spotbeam technology, which lowers the cost of providing high-bandwidth access to the Internet.

KA-SAT forms the cornerstone of a new European communications infrastructure which includes eight main satellite gateways across Europe, including one in Cork, connected to the Internet by a fibre backbone ring. As Europe's first High-Throughput Satellite (HTS), with total capacity of more than 70 Gbps, it is ushering in a new era of competitively-priced satellite-delivered services forhomes and businesses across Europe and the Mediterranean Basin.

To build an inclusive digital environment in Ireland, it is vital that broadband is accessible to as many of the 367,000 rural homesas possible,” said Kevin Ryan, SBI Chief Executive. “As a result of this partnership with Eutelsat, our customers will be guaranteed access to the fastest and most reliable satellite broadband service at the lowest possible price, with all packages competitively priced.” Ryan continued by stating that“We are the only satellite data provider in Ireland giving an Irish IP address as standard, which is vital for accessing websites such as RTE iPlayer. This unique contract also consolidates SBI’s position as the premier provider of satellite broadband services to homes and businesses in Ireland and, along with an additional €1m investment in our own services and facilities, will allow us to expand into additional territories across Europe, such as the UK.”

Arduino Patacchini CEO of Skylogic, Eutelsat’s broadband affiliate, added:“With the KA-SAT satellite now residing at its 9° East orbital location and undergoing in-orbit tests prior to entry into service in May, we are delighted to announce this first commercial contract, with SBI. KA-SAT’s capability to bring transformational satellite broadband services and SBI’s investment and expertise in delivering a first-class customer experience, represent a compelling partnership which will bring new impetus to bridging the digital divide for rural homes and businesses across Ireland.”

The customer premise equipment for Eutelsat’s Tooway™ broadband solution consists of a small satellite dish and a modem connected to the PC via the Ethernet, giving immediate and always-on Internet access following simple installation. Tooway™ can also deliver Voice over satellite telephony and Direct-to-Home television.

Operating in all countries across Europe, Tooway™ is delivered via a network of certified distributors who have the flexibility to offer packages for consumers, home workers and small businesses with speeds, volumes and prices to match their local market demands.