Eutelsat confirms permanent shutdown of four transponders on W5 satellite
July 14th, 2008

Following a technical incident experienced to part of the power generator subsystem of the W5 satellite in the night of 16 to 17 June, Eutelsat has conducted a technical investigation into the satellite’s performance in collaboration with its manufacturer,Thales Alenia Space. Eutelsat says that, whereas the power performance of the satellite is now stabilised, the conclusion of this investigation is that it will not be possible to recover operational use of the four transponders that were switched off as a result of the technical incident. Consequently, in current operational conditions the capacity of this satellite is now 20 transponders.

One of the stations affected by the loss of transponders, New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV) believes this explanation is a sham, and says that a recorded conversation by a Eutelsat employee shows the “power anomaly” really “was a premeditated, politically-motivated decision violating the free flow of information and the convention under which Eutelsat operates.”

NTDTV, citing evidence provided by Journalists Without Borders (RSF), says it has proof that it was a deliberate decision to curry favour with Beijing and to satisfy Beijing’s long standing demand of taking NTDTV down as a precondition for large business deals.

According to information published by RSF, a Eutelsat representative said in Beijing, “It was our company CEO in France who decided to stop NTDTV’s signal. (…)We could have turned off any of the transponders. (…) It was because we got repeated complaints and reminders from the Chinese government. (…) Two years ago, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television kept saying the same thing over and over: ‘Stop that TV station before we begin to talk.”

(Source: Eutelsat /NTDTV)