Eutelsat expands fleet

European satellite operator Eutelsat will invest an average of Ä450 million each year between 2008 and 2011 in new satellites for TV, mobile and broadband services and into its infrastructure.

CEO Giuliano Berretta said during the companyís 2009 reception in Berlin that three new satellites will be launched this year followed by another two in 2010.

In December 2008 Hot Bird 9 and W2M were launched. Through the new satellites, Eutelsatís Ku band capacities increased by around 30%.

In 2008 the TV payload on Eutelsatís fleet grew by 16% compared with 2007 to more than 3,100 channels. The number of HDTV channels more than doubled from 31 to almost 70.

In Germany, Eutelsat wants to expand its direct-to-cable platform KabelKiosk this year by adding new channels and services, including HDTV channels and a near-video-on-demand service.

Through its satellite W2A, which is scheduled to be launched in March, the Paris-based company wants to offer mobile television and interactive services for vehicles on s-band frequencies. The capacity will be marketed by Solaris Mobile, a joint venture between Eutelsat and SES Astra.

KA SAT, due to be launched in 2010, will mainly be used for offering broadband internet access in rural regions not covered by ADSL or cable networks on Ka band frequencies. According to Eutelsat, with a capacity of 70 Gbit/s, the satellite can provide internet services to more than one million households at data rates and prices competitive to conventional ADSL offers.