EchoStar-17 is the latest powerful toy in Charlie Ergen’s collection. The satellite was successfully launched on July 5 on an Ariane rocket from French Guiana. The new craft will be slotted into EchoStar’s fleet as part of its Hughes Network subsidiary.
The satellite, which measures 40 metres wide with its solar-panels deployed, is designed to deliver broadband by satellite to North America’s rural communities, and at prices which compete with those available in urban areas.
One of its key customers is Canada’s Xplorenet Communications which has leased 100 per cent of the satellite’s Canadian-focussed beams. Xplorenet says the satellite’s signals should be abale to reach around 2 million of Canada’s 2.4 million rural homes as yet unconnected to broadband.