Later in 2021 Eutelsat will launch a large satellite, its Eutelsat VHTS (for Very High Throughput) Konnect craft. It will use this craft, with its 230 spot-beams and overall capacity of some 500 Gb/s throughput, to provide two-way broadband connectivity across Europe and much further afield.
Eutelsat is already marketing a preliminary ‘Konnect’ service over Europe, Africa, Russia using its existing Konnect satellite launched in January 2020. This craft has 65 spotbeams operating in the Ka-band and working from 7 degrees East (and along side Eutelsat 7B/7C).
The operator has also acquired Bigblu Broadband to boost Eutelsat’s overall coverage – and support – for broadband. This includes operations in the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Hungary and Greece and will become increasingly active from now through early 2021 when it is expected to be fully operational. Konnect’s Africa service has been using leased capacity on Abu Dhabi’s YahSat-3 for southern Africa coverage, but this will shortly be phased out as Eutelsat’s own craft comes into service.
Key to buying Bigblu was that it eliminated the need for Eutelsat to create its own retail direct-to-consumer sales channel.
Last week came the announcement that Eutelsat/Bigblu would provide a consumer broadband service for a monthly fee of between $35-$83 (€30-€70) per month, and this would include the cost of terminal equipment. When Eutelsat bought Bigblu it talked of an existing 50,000 customers.
The service would be split with about 55 per cent of capacity aimed at Europe and the balance over Africa. The total available bandwidth would be about 75 Gb/s with “unprecedented flexibility to reallocate capacity between spotbeams as demand grew. Today’s typical 50 Mb/s would expand to 100 Mb/s.
Orange of France has bought the entire French capacity on the ‘new’ Konnect VHTS craft. Eutelsat says it is negotiating with European and African telcos on wholesale deals similar in structure to what Orange has contracted for Eutelsat’s broadband capacity.