EUTELSAT today announced that it has
signed a contract with Astrium Space Industries for the delivery of a new
satellite called W3A.
The procurement of this new 50-transponder spacecraft
will meet EUTELSAT’s ambitions to consolidate its market position in Europe
for multimedia services, reinforce its expansion path into Africa and
strengthen its in-orbit redundancy programme.
In addition to Ku-band
transponders, W3A will initiate EUTELSAT’s second Ka-band mission and will
also incorporate a SKYPLEX payload for on-board digital multiplexing.

Weighing in on the launchpad at 4.3 tonnes W3A is the largest satellite
yet designed and ordered by EUTELSAT.
To be delivered in second quarter 2003,
it will be placed in geostationary orbit at 7 degrees East where it will be
colocated with EUTELSAT’s W3.
The copositioning will enable EUTELSAT to open
a new multi-satellite neighbourhood that has great commercial potential by
virtue of its proximity to EUTELSAT’s HOT BIRD(TM) satellites that broadcast
services that can be picked up in Europe from 7 degrees East through a
double-feed antenna.

W3A will incorporate an exceptional degree of operational flexibility as
well as multiple regional coverages for intra-regional networks or regional
It will accommodate standard DVB and IP-type services including
OPEN-SKY, EUTELSAT’s open standard service platform for streamed video (MPEG4)
and audio (MP3) content, high-speed Internet and fast file delivery.
satellite will also offer broadband access, and pay-per-use bandwidth for
corporate networks.

In terms of coverage, W3A will provide a pan-European footprint similar to
the one provided by W3; a coverage optimized for Europe including Turkey, and
stretching as far as Iran, Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia will assume the content
currently delivered by the steerable spotbeam on W3 and provide capacity for
additional services; and a coverage of sub-Saharan Africa connected to Ku-band
transponders optimized for two-way satellite broadband access and
business-to-business networks within Africa.
Connectivity between Europe and
Africa will be possible using Ka-band frequencies for communications to and
from Europe, and Ku-band frequencies for communications to and from Africa.

By using both Ku-band and Ka-band transponders that can be switched into
58 different channels W3A is optimizing the use of the frequency spectrum
available at 7 degrees East.
The satellite will also be equipped with
five SKYPLEX units each catering for up to 18 carriers at 2Mbps with
turbo-coding that enables considerable reduction in uplink power requirements
and therefore small uplink antennas from up to 90 different locations at

Explains Giuliano Berretta, Director General of EUTELSAT: “W3A will bring
tremendously flexible new satellite capacity into the European and African
regions and as such will secure EUTELSAT’s position in the market for
broadcast and multi-media services, notably OPEN-SKY.
This satellite will
also add another layer of security to our in-orbit resource, fitting in with
our declared strategy to focus on reinforcing the high quality of service that
we endeavour to provide to clients at an orbital position of key importance”.


As one of the world’s leading satellite operators, Paris-based EUTELSAT
enables TV and radio broadcasters, Internet service providers,
telecommunications companies and corporations to transmit and receive content
throughout Europe and Africa, large parts of Asia and the Americas.
was the first operator in Europe to deliver DVB consumer television and today
broadcasts 850 channels to over 84 million satellite and cable homes, making
it one of the largest audiences in the world.
Fifty-six per cent of EUTELSAT
capacity is used for television broadcasting and just over 40 per cent for
services that include high-speed Internet access and Internet backbone
connections. EUTELSAT turnover for 2000 was euro 685 million, representing a
46 per cent increase over 1999.
EUTELSAT operates a system of 19 satellites,
uses capacity on three additional satellites and has a total of
seven satellites in construction.