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SES Astra is expanding its successful satellite-based broadband service Astra2Connect, to offer the service to the Middle East in 2010.

p>SES Astra is expanding its successful satellite-based broadband service Astra2Connect, to offer the service to the Middle East in 2010.

The company has signed a second service distribution agreement with Intersat Africa, a leading provider of satellite-based Internet services based in Kenya, Africa, for broadband services on SES Astra’s new satellite Astra 3B scheduled for launch in 2010. This agreement follows a recently signed contract with Intersat Africa for the distribution of Astra2Connect in ten countries in Eastern and Central Africa.
Under the terms of the new contract, Intersat Africa will market Astra2Connect in Middle Eastern countries, and will offer four different download packages of up to 2Mbit/s using a 100cm satellite antenna. Astra 3B, built by Astrium, will be positioned at SES Astra’s increasingly important orbital position 23.5 degrees East. The new satellite will carry 52 marketable transponders, with a maximum of 12 designated for the Middle East.

An easy solution for easy access
The innovative Astra2Connect satellite service offers customers in regions without terrestrial broadband networks an easy solution to access high-speed Internet. At the same time, they can benefit from highly reliable, always-on and interactive broadband connections for flat service fees. The customer premises equipment – a modem and a satellite dish – is low cost and easy to install. The equipment is based on Newtec’s successful Sat3Play® technology. Astra2Connect was first marketed in early 2007 and now already serves 50,000 end users throughout Europe. Based on this success, the Astra2Connect technology was further developed, and now also provides satellite-based Internet connections for the industrial and maritime markets. The service is marketed via wholesalers and Internet service providers.
“This is our second agreement with Intersat Africa to market Astra2Connect outside Europe, and we are very pleased that we can now offer our successful satellite technology in the Middle Eastern region as well,” said Norbert Willems, Managing Director of Astra Broadband Services. “We are confident that Astra2Connect has the right potential for the Middle Eastern markets. There are many countries where a reliable terrestrial broadband network is not affordable, or is absent. The Astra2Connect technology is therefore an ideal solution for all households without access to other networks.”
“We are very proud to be teaming up with such a strong partner as SES Astra for the Middle East in addition to our recent partnerships for Africa,” says Abdul Bakhrani, CEO of Intersat Africa. “Our agreement allows us to enter the dynamic and very promising Middle Eastern markets, so that countries that lack a broadband Internet infrastructure, now will have access to cost effective, reliable and bi-directional broadband Internet connections via satellite.”