North Africa represents some of the most vibrant markets for satellite services, says Eutelsat


Eutelsat announced on 7 February 2011 that the Middle East and North Africa are representing some of the most vibrant markets for satellite-delivered digital entertainment, enterprise and government services.

Key players are assembling in Dubai for the annual CABSAT exhibition and conference. Eutelsat Communications, one of the world's leading satellite operators, will be exhibiting once again at this major digital media event to demonstrate new broadcast and Internet resources for users across North Africa and the Middle East.

As the main platform for multi-channel reception in North Africa and the Middle East, satellite is the star performer, delivering bandwidth and coverage that enables channels to optimise their audience, and pay-TV platforms to aggregate a diverse range of content and progressively introduce High-Definition channels. According to Eutelsat's own audience research (Eutelsat's two-yearly survey of cable and satellite homes includes research in 12 countries in North Africa and the Middle East), the number of satellite homes in North Africa and the Middle East continues to climb, growing on average by 7.7% per year since 2008, to 48.7 million. New data from Pyramid Research forecasts that pay-TV platforms in the region are expected to experience the world's highest growth rate over the coming five years.

Within the satellite TV universe, Eutelsat's video neighbourhoods have consolidated their position as the key points of reference in the MENA region, notably:

A total of 685 channels, of which over 70% in Arabic, are broadcast from 7° West by Eutelsat's Atlantic Bird 4A satellite and the NileSat satellites. There is also a growing HDTV market in the region, with 27 HD channels (of which 14 on Atlantic Bird 4A), up in one year from only two channels. The launch in 4th quarter 2011 of Eutelsat's Atlantic Bird 7 satellite to 7° West will mark significant new progress in broadcasting resources for North Africa and the Middle East. Atlantic Bird 7 will increase Eutelsat Ku-band capacity at 7° West to 50 transponders.

Looking ahead already to the new face of television, Eutelsat will be showcasing the capacity of satellites to deliver 3D signals both Direct-to-Home and to out-of-home venues. A 3D workshop on new trends and technologies will be held on Wednesday 9th February from 11am to 12pm on the Eutelsat stand (please confirm your attendance in advance at the Eutelsat stand).

Eutelsat’s KA-SAT is now ready to serve Internet, data and video markets in the region. In addition to renewing and expanding resources for video broadcasting in the MENA region, Eutelsat is addressing the market for IP services with a new all Ka-band high-capacity satellite. Launched in December 2010, and on track to enter commercial service in May 2011, KA-SAT's 70 Gbps of throughput makes it the world's most powerful multi-spotbeam Ka-band satellite.

Operating in combination with an advanced network of gateways linked by a fibre ring to four Points of Presence in Europe, this new infrastructure will herald significant economic benefits for point-to-point video, data and IP applications across Europe and North Africa, with a dedicated spotbeam over the Middle East including coverage of Dubai, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and parts of Oman. Business services able to be carried through KA-SAT include network interconnection, professional Internet access, back-up services and SCADA applications. It is also suited for professional video solutions such as regional and corporate television and Satellite News Gathering, as well as High Definition broadcasts given the bandwidth available.

The ground is being prepared for the launch in 2013 of the Eurobird 2A high-capacity satellite which will be jointly owned and operated by Eutelsat and ictQatar (representing the State of Qatar). This new satellite will provide expanded coverage and performance across the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia to follow-on from Eutelsat's EUROBIRD™ 2 satellite at 25.5° East. In addition to securing Ku-band continuity for Eutelsat and Ku-band resources for ictQatar, Eurobird 2A will initiate a Ka-band capability, opening new business opportunities for both partners.