Eutelsat beefs up Middle East, North Africa broadcasting | News | Rapid TV News
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Leading satellite operator Eutelsat has ordered a new satellite from Thales Alenia Space to enhance its operations in the Middle East and North Africa.

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

EUTELSAT 8 West B satellite will be equipped with 40 operational Ku-band transponders and will also introduce a C-band mission to 8° West, with 10 operational transponders connected to footprints covering the African continent and reaching west as far as South America. For the 7/8° West neighbourhood, Eutelsat will redeploy an existing Ku-band satellite to 8° West in 2013. This will increase resources in advance of the launch of EUTELSAT 8 West B, enabling more broadcasters to benefit from a prime neighbourhood.

Broadcasting services from both positions, said to be one of the most dynamic in the global satellite TV market.

 Indeed over 30 million homes in North Africa and the Middle East are already equipped for DTH reception of more than 800 Arabic and international channels broadcast at this position by Eutelsat and Nilesat.

Eutelsat says that its additional capacity will meet further expansion in the market where capacity demand for video services is forecast to grow by 6.8% a year over the coming five years with HDTV channels expected to increase fourfold over the coming ten years. Commenting on the launch, 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. We are also pleased to renew our confidence in Thales Alenia Space with this new order from their most state-of-the-art range of spacecraft."

"We are both pleased and proud to sign this important contract today with Eutelsat," added Jean Loic Galle, President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space. "Our teams will deploy the full range of their skills and expertise to construct this new satellite and support our customer's development. We thank Eutelsat for placing their trust in us. EUTELSAT 8West B is the 25th satellite built by Thales Alenia Space for Eutelsat, and it will be the 74th satellite in the Spacebus family to enter service in the global space telecommunications market."