SES ASTRA, an SES company (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG), has signed a cooperation agreement with Eurosat and the Country Land & Business Association (CLA), the membership organisation for owners of land, property and businesses in rural England and Wales, to provide its members with SES ASTRA’s satellite-based interactive broadband service ASTRA2Connect.

ASTRA2Connect will be sold to members of the CLA throughout rural England and Wales under Eurosat’s brand name beyondsl, thus targeting thousands of homes and businesses where DSL or cable services may be limited or non-existent. Eurosat, a developer and supplier of satellite TV and consumer electronics, is SES ASTRA’s distribution partner for ASTRA2Connect in the United Kingdom.

ASTRA2Connect is a fully satellite-based solution for broadband access that enables households in regions without terrestrial broadband connection to access broadband services. The innovative infrastructure offers a very reliable, always-on, interactive broadband internet access for flat service fees as well as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). The customer premises equipment – a modem and a satellite dish – is low cost and delivered with a tool for easy self-installation. A simple extension at the antenna allows the simultaneous reception of all TV and radio programmes via ASTRA’s main orbital positions 19.2 degrees East (Western Europe) or 28.2 degrees East (UK).

“Despite claims about the virtual universal availability of terrestrial broadband networks in the United Kingdom, the reality looks quite different,” said Norbert Willems, Managing Director of ASTRA Broadband Services. “There are still many un-served areas, even only 20 miles outside London. Some of these will never have access to a high-speed terrestrial connection. For households in these areas, ASTRA2Connect will provide a vital lifeline for many years to come.”

“Many of our members have been left out in the cold by terrestrial broadband providers, with little or no prospect of being able to share in the internet revolution that the rest of the UK is enjoying,” said Charles Trotman, CLA Head of Rural Business Development. “These are people with businesses and families that are being severely disadvantaged because of the absence of a service most of us take for granted.”