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Broadband Satellite ISP Avanti UK Still On Target for March 2011 Service Launch

Posted: 14th Feb, 2011 By: MarkJ
hylas1 broadband satellite ukAvanti Communications, which successfully launched its 'up to' 10Mbps capable HYLAS 1 (Highly Adaptable Satellite) rural broadband spacecraft last November 2010 (here), is still on-target for the first commercial launch of its new HYLAS based internet access services in March 2011.

The news was confirmed today as part of Avanti's latest Interim Results for the six months ended 31st December 2010. Avanti also confirmed that they had received "strong demand for [HYLAS] Ka band capacity" and have a current order book worth £229 million, with an additional pipeline of transactions in negotiation for HYLAS 1 and 2 worth £389m.

Avanti's Chairman, John Brackenbury (CBE), said:

"Our opportunity is not specific to one product or market, but more generally to the global growth in demand for data. The proliferation of new internet applications, particularly those which are video intensive, and new devices enabling consumers to connect to the internet are the drivers of our market. In developed markets, data demand is rising strongly and in emerging markets, vast new populations are coming to digital media for the first time.

Whether it is connecting businesses, homes or government users directly, or providing wholesale network capacity for other telcos, Avanti is convinced that for a long time to come, the World’s demand for data will greatly exceed the World’s supply of telecoms capacity to transmit it, especially outside the biggest cities. We call this the "Data Crunch". Avanti’s high throughput, high capacity satellites are in a perfect position to exploit this trend."

Avanti's actual revenue stood at just £1.2 million, which was down from £3.3 million in 2009. This is perhaps not surprising since the new HYLAS 1 services will not begin until March 2011. The operators second satellite, called HYLAS 2, is still on target for launch in Q2 2012. It will extend Avanti's coverage to Africa and the Middle East.

An appropriate slot for HYLAS2 has also been reserved with Arianespace for launch on an Ariane 5 rocket, and the establishment of gateway earth stations is proceeding well. Financing for a future HYLAS 3 satellite is also well under way.

Meanwhile UK consumers can, according to some of Avanti's own estimates from last year, expect to pay around £25 per month for a 2Mbps (download speed) service on the new Satellite. Sadly we have no further details about the packages, such as usage allowances. At the proposed pricing HYLAS1 could end up being more expensive than existing services, which could be very risky.
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