Eutelsat has signed a multi-year contract with Canal+ Overseas, the Canal+ subsidiary in charge of broadcasting internationally and in French overseas territories.

Under the terms of the deal, Canal+ Overseas has leased a 72MHz transponder on the Eutelsat 3B satellite that will be used to deliver a new offer of channels assembled by Canal+. The channels will be transmitted via DTT to around French-speaking countries.

The Canal+ pay-TV service due to launch by the end of the year will consist of a basic package of 25 channels and a selection of national channels per country. The C-band capacity leased from Eutelsat will deliver the content to terrestrial transmitters across the French-speaking African countries targeted by Canal+ in an area stretching from Guinea to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Commenting on the agreement, Bruno Cattan, technology & web director of CANAL+ Overseas, said: “Digital switchover is a unique opportunity for Africa and its broadcasting landscape. It opens the door to new channels with improved image quality and more locally produced programmes that better meet viewer expectations. We wanted to seize this opportunity and will use Eutelsat’s powerful African satellite resources to launch a television service that will enable a large number of households on the continent to enjoy the best that television can offer.”

Michel Azibert, Eutelsat’s deputy CEO and chief commercial and developmento, added: “We applaud Canal+ Group’s ambition to step up access to digital channels in French-speaking Africa. Satellite technology is a natural ally for DTT roll-out in the countries targeted by our partner, as the reach we deliver can feed terrestrial networks spread over a huge landmass. With one third of our 38 satellites offering coverage of Sub-Saharan Africa, Eutelsat is fully mobilised to support digital switchover. This contract with Canal+ Overseas also cements a longstanding partnership with Canal+ with whom we have been collaborating in Poland and French overseas territories for over 20 years.”