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French satellite operator gets Aussie carrier licence

New bird will beam bits to Bondi and beyond by end of 2012

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French owned satellite operator EutelSat is poised to beam into the Australian market after securing a carrier licence and announcing that it will launch a new satellite covering Australia by year's end.

In late August, EutelSat’s US arm EutelSat America was granted an Australian telecommunications carrier licence by ACMA. Eutelsat currently has a network of 28 satellites which broadcast 4,000 digital television channels over Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India and significant parts of Asia and the Americas.

The company has yet to reveal its local operational plans but public government documents reveal that the company has engaged a Canberra based lobbyist on its behalf, John Blackwell.

The satellite operator also announced yesterday that it would be expanding its satellite fleet, investing in six new satellites which are currently under construction, with a seventh about to be commissioned.

All are scheduled to be launched between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the first half of 2015. The new birds will service new business in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The Eutelsat 70B will cover Australia, Asia, Africa and Europe and is slated for launch by the end of the year. The satellite boasts high frequency re-use, with four regional beams connecting to 48 Ku-band transponders located on a single platform. “Eutelsat 70B will more than double current capacity at 70.5° East for data and government services, broadband access, GSM backhauling and professional video exchanges,”the company said.

The group's satellites serve a range of fixed and mobile telecommunications services, TV contribution markets, corporate networks, and broadband markets for Internet Service Providers and for transport, maritime and in-flight markets. ®

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