Eutelsat Communications and Yahsat, the Abu Dhabi-based international satellite operator, have signed a multi-year capacity agreement giving Broadband for Africa, Eutelsat’s African broadband venture, access to high-performance commercial Ka-band capacity for broadband services across Sub-Saharan Africa.
According to the terms of the agreement Broadband for Africa will use capacity on up to 16 Ka-band spotbeams on the Yahsat 1B satellite in order to roll out broadband services during the first half of 2017. Further expansion will be supported later in the year using capacity on 18 spotbeams on Yahsat’s Al Yah 3 satellite, scheduled for launch in early 2017. Both Yahsat 1B and Al Yah 3 are equipped with high power spotbeams with Sub-Saharan African coverage, ideal for community and Direct-to-User Internet access using affordable, off-the-shelf customer premises equipment.
For Eutelsat, this capacity will replace the payload previously contracted on the Amos-6 satellite which was lost in September following a launchpad explosion. The African Broadband service will be launched during the first four months of 2017, thereby enabling Eutelsat 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.
Laurent Grimaldi, Chief Executive Officer of Broadband for Africa, said: “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.”
Amit Somani, Chief Strategy Officer of Yahsat, said, “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.”