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SES Prep Self Installable 20Mbps Capable Broadband Satellite for EU and UK

Friday, October 19th, 2012 (1:21 pm) - Score 1,728

Global satellite operator SES (SES Broadband) has confirmed that its new ASTRA 2F spacecraft, which was launched into orbit at the end of last month, will bring affordable internet download speeds of up to 20Mbps to rural parts of both the UK and Europe. On top of that it will also make self-installation a possibility.

As we first revealed over a year ago, ASTRA 2F is actually the first of three new satellites, which includes 2E and 2G (both due to launch by Q2 2014) that will sit at 28.2 and 28.5 Degrees East. Both are designed to take on rival services from Eutelsat (KA-SAT) and Avanti (HYLAS 1 and HYLAS 2), which also serve the UK and Europe.

Several ISPs, including BeyonDSL in the UK, use the SES Broadband (formerly ASTRA2Connect) platform to deliver internet access speeds that currently reach up to 10Mbps. Thankfully the new service will push this to 20Mbps and at a price that is expected to compare well with urban fixed line broadband providers.

Each satellite will support up to 80,000 subscribers, which is considerably less than HYLAS1’s 350,000 and HYLAS2’s 700,000. Part of the reason for that is because the satellites focus on faster speeds and are also used to help serve TV / phone services for different operators.

As an added bonus the new service won’t strictly require you to call out a £50-£150 professional installer to fit the needed dish as it now includes a special built-in technology that tells the owner how to align the dish themselves. In fairness there were already “sat finder” devices that can do this and many people may still be reluctant to take the DIY option.

Romain Bausch, CEO of SES, said:

The successful launch of ASTRA 2F is part of our fleet replacement and expansion programme. ASTRA 2F will provide seamless replacement capacity for our UK customers like BSkyB, the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, and will allow us to operate additional capacity at 28.2/28.5 degrees East on SES satellites.

This orbital neighbourhood today serves close to 13 million DTH [ISPr ED: Sky TV etc.] homes in the UK and Ireland. We would like to thank our long-standing partners Astrium and Arianespace for this mission success.”

The new satellite’s will be a huge improvement but it’s worth remembering that none of them can circumvent the inherent problems with satellite technology, such as high connection latency. In addition we’ve yet to see what the final package prices and usage allowances look like, although BeyonDSL’s existing 10Mbps services aren’t a bad measure and compare well with the wider market.

ASTRA 2F should be ready to enter commercial service by around the end of this year, while 2E will follow in 2013 and 2G by Q2 2014 as originally planned. For those who care, 2F has a launch mass of 6 tons, generates 13kW of power (quite a lot) and is designed to live for 15 years before Skynet takes over and the machines destroy all our cities as per the movies.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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