Eutelsat commits to Digital France 2012

Paris-based satellite operator Eutelsat has asserted its commitment to "playing a full role in 'Digital France 2012', the French Government's initiative designed to promote the digital economy throughout France.

According to Eutelsat, satellites constitute a powerful tool with which to take up the challenge of universal broadband coverage through the complementary facility they can provide to ADSL and fibre networks at a low marginal deployment cost.

"Eutelsat's consumer satellite broadband service offer is based on Tooway, a new service available in France since late 2007," says the company.

Tooway operates via a modem and a 67cm antenna installed at the user's premises to deliver broadband at prices and speeds comparable to ADSL throughout mainland France.

In Europe, Swisscom, the leading Swiss telecommunications operator, has already opted for Eutelsat's Tooway service to fulfil its commitment to universal service provision, making broadband access available all over Switzerland.

"In order to ensure wide-scale deployment of the service across Europe and the Mediterranean Basin, Eutelsat this year initiated the investment in a significant new satellite infrastructure programme which will take satellite broadband performance to the level of ADSL 2," the company added.

Scheduled to be available in 2010, the operational capacity of more than 70 Gb/s aboard KA-Sat will make it the highest capacity satellite in the world when it is deployed. It will be followed into orbit in 2011 by the ViaSat 1 satellite of ViaSat which will offer the same type of service in North America.

"For Eutelsat, the roll-out of the Tooway service is a major step, indicative of our objective for satellite broadband to be an economically viable mass-market solution for resolving the digital divide," said Giuliano Berretta, Eutelsat's chairman & CEO. "By delivering television to homes located beyond reach of terrestrial reception, and connecting businesses and local communities to the Internet in areas not served by ADSL, satellite already fulfils a vital role in opening up underserved 'grey' areas," he added.