Eutelsat firms up Russian links

Eutelsat has increased its level of cooperation with a major state-backed Russian satellite operator. Russian Satellite Communications Company (RSCC) has signed a fresh agreement with Eutelsat which sees Eutelsat leasing capacity on two RSCC craft which will launch next year and in 2015. The leases are for the 15-year lifetime of the satellites, and have a value of some €300 million, says a joint press release.

RSCC’s satellite expansion plans include two new programmes: Express-AT2 that will be launched to 140° East in 2013, and Express-AMU1 that will be launched in 2015 to provide follow-on and expansion capacity for Eutelsat 36A at the 36° East position.  Express-AT2 will more than double Ku-band capacity for satellite broadcasting at the key video neighbourhood serving Russia’s Far East region. The satellite is already under construction by ISS Reshetnev using a payload designed by Thales Alenia Space.

Express-AMU1 will be a state-of-the-art high-capacity satellite with up to 70 transponders. It will provide coverage of the European part of the Russian Federation in Ku and Ka bands, and also ensure service continuity and growth for broadcast markets developed by Eutelsat in sub-Saharan Africa. The satellite will transform the broadcasting infrastructure at 36° East into a broader system to support more television services and IP-based applications to match the development of Russia’s digital entertainment market.

More than 11 million Direct-to-Home antennas in Russia are already pointed at this leading video neighbourhood, subscribing to the premium NTV+ platform or to Tricolor, one of the world’s fastest-growing TV platforms. The new satellite’s manufacturer will be selected by the end of 2012 following an RFP. Eutelsat will commercialise the capacity under the name Eutelsat 36C.

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