EUTELSAT AND VIASAT READY TO LAUNCH TOOWAY™ CONSUMER SATELLITE BROADBAND SERVICE IN GERMANY
New generation two-way satellite service brings high-quality, affordable Internet access to residential users
Berlin, August 31, 2007
Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL) and ViaSat Inc. (Nasdaq:VSAT) today announced that the consumer broadband satellite service they are partnering to offer in Europe will be available from the end of September in Germany, with selected other European markets to follow before the end of the year.
Called Tooway™, the new-generation high-quality and affordable service is designed for residential users, with equipment a fraction the cost of existing enterprise-focused satellite services. As a new broadband alternative for homes with low-speed dial-up, Tooway™ can at last change the price/performance paradigm for consumer satellite Internet access in rural areas across Europe.
Tooway™ will be provided via Ka-band capacity on Eutelsat’s HOT BIRD™ 6 satellite at 13 degrees East and will also be available via Ku-band capacity on the EUROBIRD™ 3 satellite. The Ka and Ku-band hubs with equipment supplied by ViaSat to manage Tooway™ are now fully commissioned and ready for service at Skylogic’s SkyPark teleport in Turin, Italy.
Three different service grades will be provided in Ka-band and Ku-band with the initial offer delivering maximum downlink speeds of up to 2048 kbps and maximum uplink speeds of up to 384 kbps. Consumer tariffs and hardware prices will be defined by local service providers partnering in the distribution of the Tooway™ service. It was announced today at the IFA exhibition in Berlin, that the first distribution partners and service providers in Germany are Internetagentur Schott and Teles.
Tooway™ unites the skills of Eutelsat, Europe’s leading satellite operator working with its Skylogic broadband affiliate, and ViaSat, a world leader in satellite broadband and producer of innovative satellite networking systems. The service uses satellite for upstream and downstream communications and approaches terrestrial broadband solutions in terms of price and speed. It will be initiated for Internet access, with broadcast TV reception also possible from Eutelsat’s HOT BIRD™ neighbourhood with additional equipment. An extension to a triple play service with IPTV and VoIP will be able to be proposed by distributors.
The new service is based on ViaSat’s well-established SurfBeam® DOCSIS® two-way broadband satellite system that is already used by more than 250,000 homes in North America. The system is a highly scaleable open standards-based platform that dramatically lowers the cost of consumer terminals and services via the widely used open standard cable modem networking technology, DOCSIS 1.1. To adapt the standard to satellite, ViaSat has developed a satellite air interface that is seamlessly integrated into DOCSIS headend termination systems. It leverages low cost DOCSIS customer premises chips and software already used by more than 20 million cable customers around the world.
The compact Tooway™ consumer satellite terminal comprises an Outdoor Unit (ODU) and an Indoor Un it (IDU) or modem that interfaces to a PC or home network via a standard Ethernet connection (10/100 Mbps). The ODU consists of a 67cm Ka-band dish or a 96cm Ku-band dish. The Ku-band ODU includes a Low Noise Block (LNB) converter with linear polarisation able to receive at speeds up to 4 Mbps. It is also equipped with a powerful 2 Watt amplifier for transmission to the satellite by the consumer at speeds exceeding 1 Mbps. In Ka-band, both the LNB and amplifier are integrated in a high-tech transceiver.
The Tooway™ service can be combined with Ku-band DTH reception from Eutelsat’s HOT BIRD™ video neighbourhood at 13º East. In 2010 Eutelsat expects to extend its Tooway™ service offering in partnership with ViaSat by deploying a new, high capacity dedicated Ka-band satellite to 13 º East with multiple spotbeams across Europe. It is anticipated that the new satellite will enable much higher speed services.
“Our SurfBeam DOCSIS system has shown its ability to achieve unprecedented performance with low-cost, consumer-oriented satellite terminals. Using Eutelsat’s well-positioned satellites, the system can bring affordable, high-quality Internet broadband access to residential customers who have no high-speed alternative,” said Mark Dankberg, Chairman and CEO of ViaSat . “Building on our success with WildBlue and Telesat in North America, we are excited to bring this satellite broadband system to the European market in cooperation with Eutelsat.”
"Eutelsat has a longstanding track record for supplying turnkey broadband solutions for Europe and we are convinced that the Tooway™ service, combined with our satellites, Skylogic‘s skills and ViaSat’s world-leading technology is positioned to make a significant contribution to addressing expectations for broadband from homes with only dial-up Internet access to look forward to,” said Giuliano Beretta, Chairman and CEO of Eutelsat. "The Tooway™ service also perfectly complements our suite of turnkey broadband services for professionals, notably D-STAR which already serves enterprises and public agencies across Europe, Africa and the Middle East."
The market potential in Europe for Tooway™ is substantial as the digital divide remains a reality in many suburban and rural regions. For more than one million homes in Germany, according to the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, satellite is the only solution for broadband Internet access over the coming years. Analysts estimate that in 2010, up to
3.5 percent or 6 million of the 170 million homes in Western Europe will lack terrestrial broadband access. This figure is much higher in Eastern Europe where 8 million or 11.8 percent of 67.6 million homes have no affordable access. In Turkey about 3.5 million of 20.5 million homes are unserved.
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