The 2011/01/04 at 12:28
Alexandre T. Analis
The digital divide remains a reality in Europe. According to a survey recently carried out by the firm Idate specialising in telecommunications, Internet and media consultancy, bandwidth demand may well explode in coming years as a result of future applications requiring greater and greater capacity. “Ideal debits, which were 2 to 3 Mbps yesterday, will more likely be in the 5 to 10 Mbps range tomorrow,” believes Maxime Baudry, Head Analyst from the Idate firm.
On a continent still very marked by imbalances between countries, much more strongly serviced in the west than the east, governments have generally decided to react. According to forecasts, access targets of 30 Mbps for everyone and 100 Mbps for 50 % of the population should be attained by around 2020. The growth in satellite technologies has been accompanied by the stagnation of cable technologies, even in countries where the latter are well established such as the Netherlands and Great Britain. In France, the digital divide is still a sensitive issue with over 400,000 households eligible, entailing sometimes disastrous delays in economic terms for certain SMEs and VSEs.
Aware of the market’s fantastic growth possibilities, Eutelsat had already launched, in 2007, a satellite Internet service for Europe. The Hot Bird 6 included the Tooway service (used by SFR, Numéo…) with Internet at 3.6 Mbps (Ku band), conquering a market estimated at 14 million households. At the end of December, Eutelsat launched, from Baikonur (Kazakhstan), a new satellite, KA-SAT, constructed by EADS Astrium. This 6.2 capsule is equipped with 82 narrow beams (including 9 for France), in other words the most advanced multibeam satellite to be designed to date. With a total capacity of 70 Gbps (Ka band), KA-SAT targets between 1 and 2 million potential subscribers in Europe, including 200,000 to 300,000 in France. Thanks to the Ka band, it will emit ten times more and receive twice more frequencies than a system operating with a traditional Ku band.
Via KA-SAT, Tooway will therefore be more powerful, with pre-defined services available from around May 2011 onwards. Its installation will be facilitated by the absence of polarisation tuning, a single cable connecting the external antenna to the modem, an emitter-receiver producing sound modulated according to pointing accuracy and pointing parameters permanently displayed on the user’s computer. Progress in this sector will no doubt not stop here, with the sending into orbit of MegaSat by the CNES in partnership with Astrium, Thales and Eutelsat, scheduled for 2014.
More information on www.tooway.com.