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Ka-Sat, once thought to be something of a €400 million ‘ugly duckling’ on the Eutelsat fleet, is fast turning into a rather attractive swan.
Although Eutelsat has – to date – never broken out the revenue or profit margins on Ka-Sat perhaps more will be learnt this coming July 30th, when it unveils its end of year numbers (to June 30th).
What is known is that Eutelsat is declining new customer bookings in 28 French regions because two of the 11 beams that cover France are full. Eutelsat says that it has stopped taking orders until it can find additional Ka-band capacity.
Ka-Sat was launched in 2010 and operates from 9 degrees East. It carries 82 ‘spot’ beams, and with a design life of 16 years. Initially, the satellite’s mission was to earn €100 million in revenues with a 60/40 split in terms of consumer/business.
Eutelsat has been helped by French publicity and promotion of its National Broadband Plan which is calling for aggressive improvements to bandwidth speeds – which Ka-Sat can just about handle – of 30 Mb/s to 50 per cent of the nation’s homes by 2017, and 100 per cent of homes by 2022.
Eutelsat is already tapping into France’s Digital Divide voucher scheme to rural homes, and whereby residents can use the value of a voucher to cover the initial cost of the satellite receiving equipment and necessary connectivity, always considered to be a barrier to entry for many consumers.