The Middle East/North Africa region is to get a powerful new satellite, Eutelsat’s 8-WB, positioned at 8 degrees West and alongside its Nilesat neighbour (which operates at 7 deg W). Eutelsat is planning to re-locate an existing satellite to the 8 deg West position in order to fulfil demand. The new craft will be built by Thales Alenia and launched in 2015.
The joint Eutelsat/Nilesat position is already home to more than 800 Arabic and International channels, with more than 500 operating free-to-air. There is a pent-up demand for more capacity especially to handle the expected shift from standard definition to high-definition broadcasting. HD services already number 50 channels. The additional capacity will meet further expansion in a satellite broadcasting market where capacity demand for video services is forecast to grow by 6.8 per cent a year over the coming five years.
The new Eutelsat 8 West B satellite will be equipped with40 operational Ku-band transponders designed primarily to serve DTH markets in North Africa and the Middle East. It will also introduce a C-band mission to 8°West, with 10 operational transponders connected to footprints covering the African continent and reaching west to South America.