Eutelsat orders satellite for growing Middle East and north Africa demand

Eutelsat has placed an order for a new satellite to offer enhanced broadcasting capacity for the Middle East and North Africa.

Eutelsat 8 West B will be launched in 2015 to the 8° West orbital position, joining satellites already operated at the adjacent 7° West position by Eutelsat and the Egyptian satellite company, Nilesat.

Eutelsat said over 30 million homes in north Africa and the Middle East are equipped for DTH reception of the more than 800 Arabic and international channels broadcast from 7° and 8° West. It said free-to-air accounts for 500 of the channels, while 50 of the channels are HD. Capacity demand for video services in the region is forecast to grow by 6.8% a year over the coming five years, according to Euroconsult, with the number of HD channels expected to increase fourfold during the next 10 years. Eutelsat 8 West B will be equipped with 40 Ku-band transponders designed primarily to serve DTH markets in north Africa and the Middle East. It will also introduce C-band services to 8° West, with 10 operational transponders connected to footprints covering the African continent and reaching West to South America. To respond to the popularity of the 7/8° West neighbourhood, Eutelsat said it will redeploy an existing high-power Ku-band satellite to 8° West in 2013.

Michel de Rosen, Eutelsat CEO said: “We want to ensure we are giving broadcasters the finest quality of service and headroom to grow their business. This new satellite programme will further equip us to deliver the highest quality of service at a video neighbourhood experiencing record demand for reaching TV homes across the Middle East and North Africa.”