New Satellite to Give Millions of Europeans Broadband Access

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High-quality broadband access for all Europeans came a step closer this week when the second European satellite dedicated to delivering broadband Internet connections was launched.

An estimated 20 million Europeans in so-called "not-spots" (mainly in rural or mountainous areas) cannot get a decent broadband connection. But the six-tonne Ka-Sat aims to change that using spot beams. The Ka-band payload provides coverage of selected parts of Europe where the greatest opportunities exist for broadband service provision via satellite.

The Ka-Sat, launched from Kazakhstan on Monday, follows the Hylas satellite and is considerably bigger with a notional capacity to serve up to two million households compared with Hylas's 300,000. However such is the demand, that Ka-Sat's owner, Paris-based Eutelsat, is confident that it will be a highly successful venture.

Eutelsat already broadcasts thousands of TV channels from its other spacecraft as well as some Internet capability, but this is its first broadband-dedicated satellite. Ka-Sat is due to begin operating in the second quarter of 2011.

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