Eutelsat Will Expand Broadband Multimedia Services with Satellite Terminals from Viasat
Carlsbad, CA - Eutelsat S. A., one of the world's leading satellite operators, has awarded contracts to Viasat Inc. (Nasdaq:VSAT) for two broadband satellite networking systems and development of a future Ka-band system. The systems will enable Eutelsat to take full advantage of its new high-powered satellites to offer a wider range of services at more attractive prices than with other VSAT systems.
Eutelsat has signed an agreement with Viasat Inc. for the provision of LinkStar DVB compatible hubs and their upgrade to full DVB-RCS, and also for a Skyplex data network. In addition, to begin consumer broadband service trials, Eutelsat will use Viasat's new consumer/SOHO broadband system called SurfBeam. The value of these development contracts is in excess of $2.5 million.
Viasat will also open a new office, based in Italy, dedicated to supporting Eutelsat in the deployment of these new services.
LinkStar for Enterprise Services
Already the owner of three LinkStar DVB-compatible hubs, Eutelsat will now partner more closely with the Comsat Laboratories division of Viasat in implementing a true DVB-RCS (Digital Video Broadcasting – Return Channel Satellite) standard network to enable interoperability of terminals for enterprise services across Europe. Under this new contract for LinkStar, Viasat will develop system software in addition to supplying subscriber terminals with a target of reaching 10,000 terminals over the next two years.
LinkStar will enhance current Eutelsat multimedia services targeting enterprise customers using Ku-band satellite bandwidth. LinkStar provides an efficient broadband IP satellite network for corporate Internet access, video conferencing, distance education and VPNs (Virtual Private Networks). Each remote site on the LinkStar network shares a broadband DVB receive channel up to 60 Mbps and can transmit data back through the hub at speeds up to 1.1 Mbps.
SurfBeam for Consumer/SOHO Services
Eutelsat will implement consumer broadband services with SurfBeam, a completely new approach to satellite networking. SurfBeam is the first two-way satellite system expressly developed with the complete set of features and infrastructure to support service for the high volume, consumer market at prices competitive with terrestrial alternatives. The system leverages the cable modem networking standard called DOCSIS (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification) to lower the cost of consumer terminals, enable easy self-installation for customers, and provide mature back office, billing and network control software to network providers.
Eutelsat will first integrate the SurfBeam system into its Rambouillet facility, then work with Viasat on consumer and SOHO service trials during the second quarter of 2003. Eutelsat plans to begin making the service available, primarily to European ISPs, in the second half of 2003.
"We are extremely pleased to work with Eutelsat in the first deployment of the SurfBeam system. We believe the features of this system coupled with the performance of Eutelsat's satellite fleet will establish a new price, performance benchmark for broadband Internet access over satellite," said Mark Dankberg, chairman & CEO of Viasat.
Skyplex for Future Broadband Multimedia
Eutelsat and Viasat's Comsat Laboratories are also developing the ground system for a new Ka-band broadband system called Skyplex, aimed at the coming market for high-speed multimedia communications. Higher frequency Ka-band satellites promise smaller, lower-cost terminals and reduced satellite air-time costs. In addition, Skyplex is designed to be the world's first multimedia satellite network to feature multiplexing of digital television, radio, and data on-board the satellite. The system will be able to collect uplink signals from many sources, in many locations, package them on-board the satellite and deliver them to consumer digital receivers on the ground. Customers will avoid long video backhauls to a central location and smaller or regional content providers will find it easier to contribute programming.
Eutelsat provides satellite coverage across four continents, encompassing Europe, the Middle East, Africa, southwest Asia, eastern North America, and South America. Eutelsat's satellite infrastructure gives it the flexibility to offer direct-to-home broadcasting, video distribution and contribution services, corporate networking and a portfolio of IP applications including broadband Internet access and Internet backbone connections. From its strategic HOT BIRD orbital position at 13 degrees East and other orbital positions, Eutelsat transmits more than 1200 television and 600 radio stations reaching an overall audience of 104 million cable and satellite homes.
Safe Harbor Statement
Portions of this release, particularly statements about orders and deliveries of LinkStar and SurfBeam terminals, may contain forward-looking statements regarding future events and are subject to risks and uncertainties. Viasat wishes to caution you that there are some factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, including but not limited to: contractual problems, regulatory issues, technologies not being developed according to anticipated schedules, or that do not perform according to expectations; and increased competition and other factors affecting the telecommunications industry generally. The Company refers you to the documents it files from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission, specifically the section titled Factors That May Affect Future Performance in the Company's Form 10-K, which contain and identify other important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in our projections or forward-looking statements. Stockholders and other readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made. We undertake no obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements.