Satellite operator SES Astra is to build a digital infrastructure for Free TV, pay-TV and interactive services that will be open to all digital broadcasters. The new offer is intended to ease the development of digital services on an open technological basis. The offer will consist of play-out services, encryption of programme signals, and smart card distribution for access and customer relations management. For play-out and technical services, SES ASTRA will rely on its existing subsidiary Astra Platform Services (APS) in Unterföhring near Munich whilst logistics, distribution of smart cards and customer services will be handled by a new SES ASTRA affiliate.

“By building up a new service package, we consistently follow our strategy to improve our portfolio as a technical service provider for TV channels and focus their activities on digitization”, said Ferdinand Kayser, President and CEO of SES Astra. “The infrastructure that we offer is completely open for everybody, neutral and non-discriminatory. What we are doing will help all interested Free- and Pay-TV channels to enter the digital age, enabling the distribution of new programmes and programme packages and therefore fostering competition. This is how we will provide an important stimulus for the development of digital TV in Germany and further evidence of the role of the satellite as a technical pioneer.”