Astra beats Eutelsat to the broadband punch

SES Astra used the giant CeBIT show in Hannover to announce a new broadband product targeting communities across Europe without terrestrial broadband – the so-called ‘white spots’ of the countryside.

ASTRA2Connect provides the backbone of this new sub-distribution service which supplies the ‘white spots’ with up to 6 Mbit/s of broadband connectivity but without the need to set up a satellite system. The satellite broadband connection is installed at a roadside street cabinet of the community, and the broadband connection to the end customer is realized via the ‘last mile’ infrastructure already in place. End customers only need a standard DSL modem, to access the broadband internet. The new technology is being showcased in Baden Württemberg, Germany, together with the Ministry of Rural Affairs, Nutrition and Consumer Protection and supported by technology partners Nokia Siemens Networks and NDSatCom.  ASTRA2Connect already has some 75,000 end-users.

“We are very proud to be able to contribute to the current broadband discussion with such an innovative solution,” said Norbert Hölzle, CCO at SES Astra. “Our sub-distribution solution bears an enormous potential to close the white spots in Germany while promoting co-operations between infrastructure providers and telco operators at the same time. We are convinced that we are offering an attractive service for communities, internet service providers and end customers alike.”

“The satellite is an ideal technology to offer rural areas without access to terrestrial broadband networks fast and reliable internet connections,” said Michael Reiss, Division VP at the Ministry of Rural Affairs, Nutrition and Consumer Protection in Baden-Württemberg.  “With SES Astra’s new technology, communities in the white spots benefit from low costs in the set-up of the infrastructure which can be fully subsidized by a variety of funds available in Germany.”

Eutelsat is also targeting the same communities, albeit on a larger pan-European and Middle East scale, with its giant Ka-band satellite which launched last December. It will come into service in a few months.

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