Eutelsat to lease Russian capacity

November 2, 2012 08.55 Europe/London By Robert Briel

Eutelsat has signed an agreement with the Russian Satellite Communications Company (RSCC) to lease capacity on two RSCC satellites to be launched in 2013 and 2015.

The contracts for Eutelsat’s two 15-year leases are valued at approximately €300 million.

RSCC’s satellite expansion plans include two new programmes: Express-AT2 that will be launched to 140 degrees East in 2013, and Express-AMU1 that will be launched in 2015 to provide follow-on and expansion capacity for Eutelsat 36A at the 36 degrees East position.

Express-AT2 will more than double Ku-band capacity for satellite broadcasting at the key video neighbourhood serving Russia’s Far East region. The satellite is already under construction by ISS Reshetnev using a payload designed by Thales Alenia Space.

Express-AMU1 will be a satellite with up to 70 transponders. It will provide coverage of the European part of the Russian Federation in Ku and Ka bands, and also ensure service continuity and growth for broadcast markets developed by Eutelsat in sub-Saharan Africa.

The satellite will transform the broadcasting infrastructure at 36 degrees East into a broader system to support more television services and IP-based applications to match the development of Russia’s digital entertainment market.

More than 11 million DTH antennas in Russia are already pointed at this video neighbourhood, subscribing to the premium NTV+ platform or to Tricolor. The new satellite’s manufacturer will be selected by the end of 2012 following an RFP. Eutelsat will commercialise the capacity under the name Eutelsat 36C.

Eutelsat CEO, Michel de Rosen, said in a statement: “We are delighted to have built a solid relationship with RSCC over 15 years and that we have together decided to take this new step to partner on satellite ventures which will secure long-term visibility at the 36 degrees East position and open new opportunities for business at 140 degrees East. We share the common objective to continue to work together for the benefit of our customers and to deliver satellite resources that support the expansion of a vibrant digital economy for the Russian Federation.”

“With Eutelsat we go back many years, to 1997″, added Yuri Prokhorov, RSCC director general. “Over the past three years RSCC and Eutelsat have been moving towards a project that would essentially create new services that Russian satellite telecom users want: to view cutting-edge quality TV and personally participate in content formation, as well as have access to telecom service anywhere in the Russian Federation, both fixed and mobile”.

(The ptcture shows RSCC’s Dubna Satellite Communications Center)