Russiaís largest operator of satellite television, Tricolor TV, announced its commercial launch of asymmetrical satellite Internet access, Vedomosti reported.

Tricolor TV is a property of Gazprom-Media Holding.

The service has been available in test mode since February 2010, and about 12,000 subscribers have joined since that time. According to Sergey Stavropoltsev, commercial director of Tricolor TV, the company intends to attract 30,000 subscribers by the end of the year, while the prospective audience numbers approximately 500,000.

Tricolor TV is offering several monthly service plans for incoming Internet traffic, which vary in price depending on connection speed. Speeds range from 128 kbps to 1024 kbps and cost from 99 to 999 rubles, respectively. The price for upstream data, which is transmitted via mobile operators MegaFon and MTS, is charged separately.

A similar satellite Internet service is provided by satellite operator DiSat, a trademark of Raduga Internet, in partnership with MTS, VimpelCom, and SkyLink. Raduga Internetís commercial director, Ivan Cheglakov, estimated that at the end of 2010, 145,000 of the 280,000 people using satellite Internet in Russia subscribed to Raduga Internetís service.

Gazprom-Media Holding is one of the largest media holdings in Russia and Europe, comprising television, radio, print, cinema production, advertising, movie theaters, and Internet. The holdingís main objectives are accumulating and developing media assets. In 2010 the holding posted total revenues of 39.2 billion rubles, a 17% increase from the previous year.