Keeping Its Ku-band Bases Covered, Airbus Re-ups with Intelsat

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PARIS — Airbus Defence and Space’s services arm on March 10 said it had contracted with satellite fleet operator Intelsat to renew substantial C- and Ku-band capacity for mobile applications on Intelsat’s current fleet and to reserve capacity on Intelsat’s coming high-throughput Epic satellites.

Evert Dudok, head of Airbus Defence and Space’s satellite services division, said the company currently purchases some 200 million euros ($274 million) per year in C-, Ku- and L-band satellite bandwidth for its commercial and government customers’ mobile platforms.

Dudok in December signed a similar capacity-purchase agreement with London-based Inmarsat for that company’s coming Global Xpress Ka-band satellites, the first of which is in orbit. The remaining two satellites will be launched by late this year or early 2015.

For the time being, Dudok said, Airbus is not prepared to pick a winner among the competing mobile-broadband technologies, specifically between Ku- and Ka-band.

Intelsat’s Epic high-throughput satellites, using Ku-band to start, will be in service starting in 2016. One advantage the technology has is that it is backward compatible with the current large installed base of Ku-band terminals in aeronautical and maritime platforms.

Dudok said the contract with Intelsat was “multi-year,” but he declined to specify its terms.

 

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