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Eutelsat’s New 75Gbps KONNECT Broadband Satellite Goes Live

Monday, November 16th, 2020 (4:27 pm) - Score 4,368
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European space operator Eutelsat has today confirmed that their new all-electric (propulsion) broadband satellite, KONNECT, which was launched into Geostationary Orbit (7° East) around the Earth in January 2020 (here), has finally entered into commercial service and should soon be available from ISPs in the UK and EU.

At present many of Eutelsat’s existing broadband packages tend to be powered by their KA-SAT satellite (previously sold via the “Tooway” banding), which often offers top download speeds of up to 30-50Mbps alongside some quite meagre usage allowances (unless you’re willing to pay a lot more money).

The new KONNECT platform – weighing 3.6 metric tons at launch and with a designed lifespan of 15+ years – aims to boost all this by sharing 75Gbps of capacity across a network of 65 spotbeams using the Ka-band, which will reach across much of Africa and a big chunk of Europe – primarily focused on France, Italy, Germany, Spain and the UK.

According to the operator, availability of KONNECT had been delayed due to Covid-related interruptions in the rollout of the ground segment, but having now completed its testing, the spacecraft is now operational and will gradually ramp up with 80% of the capacity in service by year-end and 100% by March 2021.

Company Statement

The availability of EUTELSAT KONNECT marks a major step in Eutelsat’s Connectivity strategy, contributing to making 2021 a turning point in Fixed Broadband. The entire French capacity on the satellite has already been contracted on a wholesale basis by Orange.

Moreover, Eutelsat’s recent acquisition of BigBlu Broadband adds a retail pillar to its distribution network which will accelerate the ramp up of the satellite and prepare the ground for the entry into service of KONNECT VHTS in the course of fiscal year 2022-23.

We note that the Konnect VHTS (very high throughput) platform is a very different satellite, which is currently still under construction by Thales Alenia Space. The VHTS is expected to weigh 6.3 tonnes and have a massive Ka-band capacity of 500Gbps, although it will launch into a very different market from today’s KONNECT.

Otherwise Eutelsat has previously claimed that today’s KONNECT satellite should be able to “provide internet access services for both companies and individuals” at speeds of up to 100Mbps and, as hinted in the statement, the operator’s acquisition of European and UK ISP BigBlu (here) is likely to play a key role.

However we were a little surprised to visit BigBlu’s UK website today, only to find that the ISP is no longer taking on new customers and aren’t showing any packages. Not the best first impression to give on the day your new satellite goes live. We have shot a message across to Eutelsat in the hope of getting some clarification on their plans for the UK.

The other challenge for Eutelsat is that their new spacecraft arrives at a time before great change, not least from the imminent arrival of additional competition via the new generation of smaller Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellations – SpaceX, Amazon and OneWeb etc. Unlike GEO satellites, LEOs can offer significantly faster latency and early speedtests are already into “ultrafast” (100Mbps+) territory (here), albeit quite pricey.

Leave a Comment
9 Responses
  1. Avatar Davros says:

    75/3 for £69,99 a month seems to be the top res package according to https://europe.konnect.com/en

    Ouch

  2. Avatar tim says:

    Only 3Mbps upload. Hmmm that’s not superfast.

    What is the latency expected to be? Still in the 700ms range?

    1. Avatar Davros says:

      good enough for gaming apparently

  3. Avatar Sezinho says:

    It is going to be outdated technology, SpaceX is going to rock the world of Satellite internet services so buckle up and enjoy the ride, I am waiting for Starlink that offers unbelievable service with very low latency, high speed and unlimited data cap.

    1. Avatar Optimist says:

      Indeed, if it succeeds it will solve the problem of connecting remote areas.

    2. Avatar Tim says:

      Spacex won’t solve the issue for Rural broadband.

      It brings rural up to speed with what was available in towns 5 years ago.

      But now towns have or will soon have gigabit services in many places from 2 independent networks.

      So if Spacex is the only option in a rural location at least it’s better than ADSL but it’s still a slower more expensive option.

  4. Avatar Optimist says:

    @Tim – Surely future LEO satellites will perform better than those launched today?

  5. Avatar Ahmed Breck jeizan says:

    My lovely brother of the eutelsat konnect satellite please I beg you please tell me what the date day month or year eutelsat konnect satellite will launch all frequency’s and symbol rate of the all TV channels of the eutelsat konnect satellite please answer me thank you very much

    1. Avatar Ahmed break jeizan says:

      My lovely brother of the eutelsat konnect satellite how are you good evening and good night my lovely brother of the eutelsat konnect satellite please I beg you please tell me what the date or day or month or year eutelsat konnect satellite will launch all frequency’s and symbol rate of the all TV channels of the eutelsat konnect satellite please answer me thank you very much

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