PARIS Astrium Services on Jan. 19 announced it had signed a multimillion-euro contract to provide deployed German troops with telephone and Internet access over four years.

The contract with the German Bundeswehr, which will take effect July 1 following a six-month implementation phase, includes services to German troops in both current and future deployments. The Bundeswehr, whose two-satellite ComsatBw telecommunications system entered operations in 2010, intends to offer 30 minutes of free communications per week to each deployed solider.

Before the two ComsatBw satellites were launched, the Bundeswehr had limited satellite communications to high-priority users and was paying some 15 million euros ($20 million) per year in satellite bandwidth lease charges.

Astrium Services is providing similar services, which include satellite and terrestrial links, to British and French troops.

Peter B. de Selding was the Paris bureau chief for SpaceNews.