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Eutelsat Moves On To W3A Satellite

Posted: 18th May, 2004 By: MarkJ
Eutelsat, the operator behind several UK broadband satellite ISPs, has announced the successful transfer and commercial start-up of its new W3A satellite at 7 degrees East:

MISSION SUCCESS FOR TRANSFER OF SERVICES TO EUTELSAT's W3A SATELLITE FROM W3

Eutelsat announced today that its new W3A satellite was successfully brought into full commercial service at 7 degrees East in the nights of May 15 to 16 and May 16 to 17 with the seamless transfer of all traffic to the new satellite from W3.

In addition to assuming all services formerly delivered by W3, Eutelsat's new satellite substantially increases the business potential at one of Eutelsat's most longstanding orbital locations by providing more capacity and extending coverage beyond Europe, the Middle East and North Africa to almost the entire African continent. In addition to Ku-band capacity, Eutelsat has deployed Ka-band frequencies and Skyplex on-board processing on W3A that in particular opens opportunities for broadband services between Europe and Africa such as voice over IP and Internet access.

Following launch on 16 March, W3A was positioned in geostationary orbit by Eutelsat in collaboration with prime contractor EADS Astrium and Telespazio. Tests of the spacecraft bus, the first in the Eurostar E3000 series, were completed on 31 March and the payload was subsequently tested and performance thoroughly verified during April on a test location. On 3 May, the satellite was triggered to begin a slow move towards its definitive operational position at 7 degrees East. It arrived on station on 14 May and was prepared for the transfer procedures.

The switch of services followed a meticulously planned sequence of events over two nights, with corporate clients such as Reuters and Hughes Network Systems being the first to move in the night of 16 May. In the night of 17 May the European Broadcasting Union's Eurovision network, Digiturk's pay-TV platform, RAI, TV Poland and other video clients were transferred. The majority of the switch manoeuvres lasted fewer than 30 seconds with the longest lasting fewer than 90 seconds.

A number of clients commented on the switch of service from W3 and the full entry into service of Eutelsat's new satellite. They included Jean Réveillon, Secretary General of the European Broadcasting Union, the world's leading broadcasting association: "We are thrilled to have the benefits of this new satellite for upcoming events such as the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings, the UEFA Euro 2004 football and the Athens Olympics. The power and coverage of W3A will be a real asset to the Eurovision network."

Mike Darcy President of Hughes Network Systems Europe added: "Hughes Network Systems has thousands of terminals pointed towards 7 degrees East that serve the critical communications requirements of our clients in industry, retail, energy and government sectors. Eutelsat worked closely with us to prepare a seamless switch of all our networks onto W3A and we are delighted to be benefiting from the performance and reach of Europe's newest satellite."

Eutelsat's W3 satellite, which went into service exactly five years ago, will start its drift later this month to 48 degrees East where it will continue its full commercial mission for clients with requirements in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and central Asia.
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