Published: 08.41 Europe/London, May 20, 2011

The US Defense Department has awarded Intelsat a contract potentially worth $145 million (101 million) over seven years to provide comprehensive satellite connectivity for the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS). The contract has a one-year term with six one-year options.

AFRTS provides multi-channel radio and television programmes to military forces, civilian contractors and their families stationed abroad and on navy ships at sea. In Europe, American Forces Network (AFN) operates a network of radio stations with multiple TV channels delivered via DTH satellite.

Intelsat General, a subsidiary of Intelsat, will provide the satellite capacity and terrestrial infrastructure via the Intelsat One network to support the media service, as well as other internal information programming offered by the Defense Department.

In addition, Intelsat General is providing an end-to-end solution for four separate AFRTS services around the globe, including installation of new terminal equipment and terminal operations and maintenance at a new AFRTS facility at Fort Meade, Md.

The telecommunications company also will help AFRTS reduce the number of entry points and fibre connections for its services and maximise efficiencies in the use of the satellites.

AFRTS uses seven satellites and six data entry points to carry television and stereo audio services to over 1,000 outlets in more than 175 countries and US territories and to US Navy ships.