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Over half of the 1,250 satellite TV channels broadcasting in Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands originate from either Eutelsat's 36 degrees East or 16 degrees East video neighbourhoods, the satellite operator has announced at SatCom Africa.

This equates to 15% of the 4,000 plus TV channels broadcasting around the globe via Eutelsat satellites.

Currently, Eutelsat 36A and 36B, located in orbit at 36 degrees East, host 300 TV channels, including the MultiChoice DStv pay-TV platform and ZAP, which is owned by the Portuguese operator ZON.

Eutelsat 16A, which was launched to 16 degrees East in October 2011, now hosts 150 channels, including Canal+ Overseas, Orange, Parabole Réunion and France Télévisions.

The roll-out across the continent of digital terrestrial transmission is also drawing on satellite capacity. The StarTimes platform, for example, uses two Eutelsat satellites to transmit to terrestrial retransmitters in 10 African countries and recently announced sales of over one million set top boxes, says the satellite operator.

The number of satellite homes in Africa will rise from 4.5 million in 2010 to 8.7 million in 2015 (+ 13% compound annual growth rate), according to Datixis.

Over the coming two years, Eutelsat is planning to launch two more satellites to connect Africa with Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. Eutelsat 70B is scheduled for launch at the end of this year, with Eutelsat 3B to be launched in early 2014. The operator is showcasing these new satellites at the show at Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg until 24 May.

The operator is also using SatCom Africa to unveil a high speed internet access platform called IP Easy – aimed at residential users, and small to medium businesses across sub-Saharan Africa. Combined with Newtec's Sat3Play technology it delivers downlink speeds of up to 4Mbit/s and supports the reception of TV channels in triple play mode.

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