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UPD Avanti UK Successfully Launch 10Mbps HYLAS1 Broadband Satellite into Orbit

Posted: 26th Nov, 2010 By: MarkJ
ariane 5 uk hylas1 broadband satellite rockethylas1 broadband satellite ukBroadband Satellite ISP Avanti Communications UK has this evening, at around 6:40pm, successfully launched and separated its HYLAS 1 (Highly Adaptable Satellite) spacecraft into orbit (space) around the Earth. It will now undergo various testing procedures before being brought into full commercial service early next year.

The Ka-band satellite, which went aloft aboard a Kourou based Ariane 5 rocket, is designed to serve UK and European homes with broadband download speeds of up to 10Mbps (i.e. rural areas). It will also have an important role to play in helping the government to meet its 2015 target; delivering a minimum broadband download speed of 2Mbps to everybody in the country (USC).

Avanti's Chief Executive, David Williams, said before the launch:

"This is a landmark day for the many consumers and businesses across Europe, who have been frustrated by lack of access to adequate broadband, it means that finally there is the opportunity to solve the digital divide.

The launch of our satellite today means that access to broadband in remote areas is no longer on the distant horizon."

The EADS Astrium and Antrix built HYLAS 1 can deliver its service to 350,000 customers' and a forthcoming sister satellite, HYLAS 2 (due to follow in just over one year's time), should expand upon that to reach an additional 700,000 at similar speeds. Further satellites are intended.

However for the time being HYLAS 1 will have to exist without comparable redundancy in its network. Satellite solutions also suffer from significantly higher than normal latency (bad for fast paced multiplayer games), meagre usage allowances and hefty hardware/installation costs of around £500.

At present we know that a 2Mbps service delivered through HYLAS 1 will set customers back £25 per month, which isn't the most competitive pricing we've seen; ISPs could also add a larger profit margin on top. We'll have to wait for the first true services to appear next year before we can gauge how competitive it is.

UPDATE 29th November 2010

We already covered this but Avanti have only just issued their own press release. They state that the Ariane 5 launch was perfect, injecting HYLAS 1 into the correct orbit precisely on schedule.

HYLAS 1 separated from the Ariane 5 after 34 minutes of flight and telemetry was immediately received at the control centre. The solar arrays deployed on schedule and all systems checks showed full spacecraft functions to be working correctly.

David Williams, Chief Executive of Avanti Communications, commented:

"I am delighted that HYLAS 1 is safely in orbit and operating as planned under our control. HYLAS 1 is a uniquely flexible satellite and we are now delighted to be able to offer broadband to communities, businesses and governments around Europe who previously suffered from the lack of high quality communications. Anyone in the UK and within our European beams who needs broadband can now have it, regardless of their location.

Before we begin to put customer traffic onto the satellite in the New Year, we will be working to enhance the revenue generating potential of the satellite. As a result of certain extra design activities during manufacture HYLAS 1 has higher performance than the original design provided for and is able to offer certain new services. We will analyse the precise performance characteristics of the satellite in these operating modes before commercial service commences.

This is the first major step for us in creating a business which I hope will lead the World in Ka band satellite communications."
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