SES ASTRA announced today that it will provide the Albanian Post with its satellite broadband service ASTRA2Connect to offer customers free internet access in rural areas throughout the country. In addition, ASTRA2Connect will be used by the Albanian Post for its daily operations. Together with Starsat, the ASTRA2Connect distribution partner in Albania, broadband access via SES ASTRA's innovative satellite broadband platform will be installed in 300 post offices, which is more than half of all the post offices in the country.

The Albanian Post is the first postal operator to use the ASTRA2Connect satellite technology on such a wide scale. With the new service, customers in rural regions of Albania will get access to fast and reliable communications via the internet. Satellite broadband terminals in these post offices will enable them to use the internet for business and communication activities, such as internet browsing, e-mail, e-commerce, e-learning, e-payments and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) telephony. The project is a cornerstone of the government program "Digital Albania" which was launched in 2005. SES ASTRA's satellite-based broadband service ASTRA2Connect is offered via distribution partners to end customers and businesses in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The service is independent from any terrestrial network and is immediately available anywhere within the footprint of the satellite. To date, ASTRA2Connect has more than 70,000 end-users in Europe, and represents the largest satellite-based broadband network on the continent.

"We are honoured that the Albanian Post has decided to trust our successful satellite service ASTRA2Connect," said Norbert Hölzle, Chief Commercial Officer at SES ASTRA. "The technology is highly reliable, yet easy and fast to install. The internet has become an essential tool for social and economic activities, and every citizen should have access to it. We are proud to be able to support the digital progress in Albania with our solution."

The Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha praised the project as "a major event in the history of our endeavour for ‘Digital Albania'." With the satellite broadband solution, "the Albanian Post has managed to become an important service provider valued by all citizens of Albania."