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By: MarkJ - 13 July, 2010 (6:25 AM)
hylas1 uk broadband satelliteSatellite ISP Avanti Communications has revealed that the first of its next generation broadband satellites - HYLAS 1, which will offer internet download speeds of up to 8Mbps to anybody in the UK from £25 per month (more price details), has been delayed by 6 weeks from its original late-September 2010 launch.

The situation, which appears to be largely out of the Satellite operators control (see below), means that Avanti will lose the 'first to market' advantage that it would of had over its closest rival Eutelsat.

Eutelsat plans to launch a 10Mbps capable KA-SAT Satellite (Tooway) service before the end of this year (more details); Tooway ISPs currently charge around £30-35 per month for a 3.6Mbps service with a measly 2.4GB monthly usage allowance.

HYLAS1 and 2 Official Status Update

On 12 May Avanti announced that it expected HYLAS 1 to launch by the end of September. Although the satellite itself is expected to be ready on schedule, uncertainty surrounding the readiness of the new Soyuz launch pad in French Guyana has led to a scheduling risk in relation to a Soyuz launch vehicle. In order to minimise timetable slippage, Avanti is currently in discussions with Arianespace regarding the selection of the most appropriate launch window for use of an Ariane 5 launch vehicle instead.

Arianespace has assured Avanti of its ability to launch the satellite at the earliest opportunity and has several launch slots potentially available. However, as the Ariane 5 would typically involve a two satellite launch, the final determination of a launch date will involve the detailed assessment of launch partners and consideration of their own satellite delivery schedules. The Board's estimate is that there is a risk of schedule delay of up to six weeks from the proposed end September launch. Avanti will update the market as soon as the launch partner and the launch date are settled.

The HYLAS 2 satellite is on schedule for a launch in the first half of 2012. Following the recently announced contract wins in the institutional and enterprise market segments, and positive developments in the pipeline of potential new business, Avanti is confident that it will be able to sell HYLAS 2 capacity within the expected timetable.

Avanti also announced that it had completed a conditional placing of new ordinary shares, which has raised an extra £70 million (before expenses) for the company. This cash will be used to help pay-off the debt on its HYLAS 1 construction, initiate the procurement of HYLAS 3 and it will also provide additional resources for the Company to re-domicile the HYLAS 2 assets offshore.

The new services from Avanti and Eutelsat both look promising, yet we still do not know the final package details; it's likely that the price point posted by Avanti does not include an ISPs profit margin for the service. We expect that Avanti and Eutelsat will both end up with incredibly similar products, much will thus depend on the service speed and usage allowance flexibility.
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