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With an estimated 30 million locations across Europe without access to broadband, many countries are mandating and funding “Broadband Everywhere” initiatives to expand coverage as quickly as possible. In addition, as a further signal of its commitment, the European Commission has announced a target of 100 percent broadband coverage in the European Union by 2013. But in some areas of Europe, satellite is the only solution that can achieve this goal.
Now, thanks to a strategic partnership between Avanti Communications Group plc and Hughes, millions more consumers and businesses in Europe will soon have access to affordable, high-speed broadband communications. The launch in mid-2010 of Avanti’s HYLAS 1 satellite, Europe’s first dedicated, high-throughput, Ka-band broadband satellite, will open the door to the delivery of consumer broadband service on a significant scale. As part of a multi-year agreement valued at over $24 million, Hughes will provide Avanti and its partner channels with eight gateways and 50,000 customer premises terminals to operate over HYLAS 1, paving the way for both companies to participate in the European consumer broadband market for the first time.
The introduction of advanced Ka-band technology in Europe will bring high performance broadcast and data communications services to a wide range of market segments, including broadband Internet access to rural and remote areas underserved by terrestrial networks.
Avanti’s 52 VNO (virtual network operator) customers will deliver broadband services throughout Europe utilizing the advanced Hughes HN System and Ka-band broadband satellite routers. The unique characteristics of HYLAS 1 significantly reduce the overall operating costs of satellite services, both in bandwidth utilization and systems hardware, from that of Ku-band. This gives operators multiple benefits, including greater speeds coupled with a lower upfront investment and reduced bandwidth costs.
The first satellite to incorporate technical advances such as steerable beams and power shifting between beams, HYLAS 1 is expected to serve more than 250,000 consumers, small/medium businesses, and large enterprises across Europe later this year.
In addition to providing the satellite gateway and networking equipment, Hughes has agreed to acquire capacity on the HYLAS 1 satellite to expand the managed services it provides to major enterprises in a variety of market sectors, including oil/gas, lottery, and retail. This builds on the Hughes global strategy to deliver high quality broadband Internet access and managed services on the most advanced platforms around the world, including its successful Ka-band SPACEWAY® 3 satellite in North America and its recently announced Jupiter™ high-throughput satellite system to be launched in 2012.
According to Chris Britton, managing director of Hughes Europe, “As a result of this agreement, Hughes will be able to significantly expand its managed service offerings across Europe, while Avanti will break into this market with a powerful combination of its HYLAS 1 advanced Ka-band satellite and Hughes proven networking technology.”
“HYLAS 1 capacity gives Hughes a competitive advantage to expand its enterprise managed services in Europe as it has using its own satellite in the U.S.,” said David Williams, chief executive, Avanti. “Furthermore, we have secured a supply for our VNOs of the world’s best customer premises router equipment at a market-beating price. This is fundamental in turning HYLAS 1 into a consumer broadband proposition and will have significant impact on our ability to sign more VNO customers leading up to the launch of HYLAS 1.”
With the launch of HYLAS 1, Avanti will focus first on expanding broadband access to areas throughout Europe that are currently underserved such as Poland, Spain, Ireland, and the Czech Republic. But Avanti doesn’t plan to stop there. In 2012, the operator plans to expand its footprint by launching HYLAS 2 to extend services to the Middle East and Africa.
This important introduction of affordable Ka-band services in Europe and beyond will truly transform the way people in many parts of the world communicate, work, live, and play—providing broadband access where it wasn’t previously possible and helping realize the goal of affordable broadband everywhere.