Eutelsat Communications is set to launch its latest satellite which will provide the capacity required to accelerate the deployment of higher definition television services to the Middle East and North Africa region.

The Eutelsat 8 West B satellite will be located at 7/8 degrees West and further strengthens this position as the hotspot for television broadcasts to homes across the region stretching from Morocco to the Gulf.

“This satellite will accelerate the transition to HD services and facilitate the rapid deployment of advanced television services such as Ultra High Definition broadcasts,” said Ali Korur, CEO of Eutelsat Middle East.

“With the launch of this new satellite Eutelsat is ensuring that the bandwidth is available for broadcasters to deliver High Definition today and the immersive viewing experience of Ultra HD in the future.

“The satellite will be co-located with Nilesat at the regional hotspot at 7/8° West which means that television viewers across the region can access easily the widest choice of viewing options, using one single dish.”

Currently more than 1,000 channels are broadcast from 7/8 degrees West to 250 million viewers across the MENA region.

Ali Korur commented: “High Definition broadcasts are the new normal and in two years we expect to the see the launch of Ultra High Definition – or 4k – television broadcasts which will take the viewing experience to a new dimension.“

“Ultra HD requires much more bandwidth and so with the launch of Eutelsat 8 West B we are future proofing the broadcast environment to provide that capacity. Our commitment to invest now will ensure that television viewers get even more choice and better quality broadcasts in the future. The viewing experience of major sport events, movies and documentary programming, will be unlike anything seen previously.”

Eutelsat 8 West B will be delivered to the Ariane launch site in mid-July for launch on 18 August. It will go into full commercial service on 1 October following checks to validate its performance in space. It will carry 30 Ku-band transponders with capacity for an additional 180 HD channels.