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Vivacom and Eutelsat launch OneWeb ground station

United Group-owned Bulgarian telco Vivacom has teamed up with satellite operator Eutelsat Group to launch a joint ground station in Bulgaria. The pair said that the facility, only the fourth of its kind in Europe and one of only 35 operating in the world, will enable expanded communications services for Eutelsat Group’s low Earth orbit (LEO) connectivity services.

Source: United Group

Vivacom announced in November 2022 that it had started the construction of the ground station for OneWeb, which in September this year merged with Eutelsat.

The project is being implemented at Vivacom’s site in the municipality of Stara Zagora where it will provide additional jobs in the region for the next 10 years, and will put Stara Zagora on the world map for space technology and communications. Because of all these economic benefits, the project has been awarded Class C certification.

The ground station consists of 18 antennas and a mini data centre that connects the LEO satellites to the optical network and data centres in Bulgaria and Europe. Construction began in late 2022 and, despite adverse weather conditions, was completed in May 2023, and was followed by a successful testing-and-commissioning procedure.

“We are happy that in just one year, we were able to launch this important project, which will bring long-term benefits to business and society in our country. We remain true to our strategy to continue investing, innovating, and offering high-quality products and services based on the most modern technologies, which deservedly strengthen Vivacom’s place on the international map in this sector. We believe that, with the right strategic vision, targeted investments and the high expertise of our team, we can set standards on a global scale and attract even more international technology companies who are ready to invest in Bulgaria,” said Nikolay Andreev, CEO of Vivacom.

“42 years after Stara Zagora made headlines with its contribution to the first Bulgarian artificial satellite ‘Intercosmos Bulgaria 1300’, this project puts our city back on the map for the global space industry. We welcome the investment in this remarkable satellite communications project with open arms, knowing that it will not only stimulate the development of our city, but also contribute to digital inclusion throughout Eurasia,” said Zhivko Todorov, the mayor of Stara Zagora.

“We extend our gratitude to Vivacom for their collaboration and assistance in establishing an additional ground station for our LEO network. We are steadily advancing towards providing global connectivity services, and this new site represents another significant stride towards achieving our overarching goal. Vivacom not only brings a wealth of telecommunications expertise but also invaluable local knowledge, making them an essential partner,” said Massimiliano Ladovaz, chief operations officer, Eutelsat Group.

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