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Yahsat deal to boost Eutelsat's Africa broadband programme

Yahsat deal to boost Eutelsat's Africa broadband programme

International satellite operators Eutelsat Communications and Yahsat have announced a new multi-year capacity agreement which will give Eutelsat's African broadband venture 'Broadband for Africa' access to high-performance commercial Ka-band capacity for broadband services across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Broadband for Africa plans to reduce the digital divide by offering high-quality and high-availability broadband solutions for consumers, enterprises and the public sector. The initiative will use 16 Ka-band spot beams on the Yahsat 1B satellite in order to roll out broadband services during the first half of 2017, according to the terms of the agreement.

Laurent Grimaldi, CEO of Broadband for Africa expressed delight at the deal, which includes further expansion later this year using capacity on 18 spot beams on Yahsat's Al Yah 3 satellite, scheduled for launch in early 2017.

"We are delighted to initiate this relationship with Yahsat and to put our Africa broadband programme back on track. We fully share Yahsat's conviction in the long-term role satellites will play in wireless connectivity and in the need for high-quality infrastructure to transform Africa's broadband landscape."

Both Yahsat 1B and Al Yah 3 are equipped with high power spot beams with Sub-Saharan African coverage which can be used for community and Direct-to-User Internet access through off-the-shelf customer premises equipment.

Amit Somani, CSO of Yahsat emphasised the value of alliances in the industry following conclusion of the agreement. "We believe it is important for us to collaborate with our industry peers to drive our common goal of connecting individuals, businesses and governments around the world with affordable and reliable broadband services. We are delighted to have Broadband for Africa as a long-term customer on our satellites, laying yet another cornerstone in our expansion strategy and reinforcing the global trend towards higher efficiency Ka-band solutions."

The capacity provided by Yahsat will replace the payload previously contracted on the

Amos-6 satellite by Eutelsat in partnership with Facebook following a launchpad explosion in September which led to a loss of the SpaceX rocket.

Eutelsat has hinted that the African Broadband service will be launched during the first four months of 2017 in order to enable it to revert to its initial business plan of a revenue contribution of €15 million in FY 2017-18 and €25-30 million in FY 2018-19.

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