SES S.A. Successfully Launches SES-6 Satellite, Increases Reach in Benelux Countries
SES-6 satellite roared into space on board an ILS Proton Breeze M booster on Monday at 15:18:31 pm Baikonur time (11:18:31 CET and 05:38:31 EDT).
After a 15-hour, 31-minute mission, the Breeze M upper stage of the Proton rocket successfully released the SES-6 satellite directly into geostationary transfer orbit.
Following the successful launch, SES also announces the Brazilian telecommunication group Oi is a new anchor customer who signed a significant long-term capacity agreement to provide Direct-to-Home (DTH) services in Brazil. With the agreement, Oi becomes the largest user of the new satellite.
“With SES-6, Oi has access to significant additional satellite capacity at exactly the right time in order to take its pay-TV services to the next level of development,” said James Meaney, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Oi. “We will be able to meet consumers’ demand for a greater diversity of channels, many in high definition, as soon as possible.”
“This very important capacity agreement for a large part of the Ku-band transponders of SES-6 enables Oi to launch a new DTH platform for the Brazilian market,” said Romain Bausch, President and CEO of SES. “This agreement is a quantum leap for us in this very important and dynamically growing market, demonstrating how satellites substantially support telecommunication companies in the development and delivery of triple- and quadruple-play hybrid services. In addition, by early replacing the NSS-806 satellite and by adding new C-band capacity, the investment into the SES-6 satellite reflects our strong focus on the Latin American market and the development of an important video neighborhood at the 40.5 degrees West orbital position.”
SES-6 replaces SES’ NSS-806 satellite at the prime orbital position of 40.5 degrees West, providing continuity of service and expansion capacity in the C-band for video neighborhoods in Latin America and the Caribbean. It has comprehensive coverage of North America, Latin America, Europe and the Atlantic Ocean. SES-6 was built by EADS Astrium in Toulouse, France, based on the highly reliable Eurostar E3000 platform. The satellite is equipped with 43 C-band and 48 Ku-band transponders. SES-6 had a launch mass of 6,100 kg, features a wingspan of 40m once its solar arrays are deployed in orbit, and is designed for 13 kW of spacecraft power at the end of its 15-year design lifetime.
“We would like to thank Astrium and ILS for the successful SES-6 mission. The 53rd satellite in SES’ global fleet provides significant capacity expansion at a strategic orbital slot over the Americas, both for a compelling DTH offer to Brazilian audiences as well as for cable distribution across Latin America and the Caribbean. We will work closely with Oi to deploy and roll out these new services to the Brazilian audience”, concluded Romain Bausch, President and CEO of SES.
Bigger in Benelux
In addition, SES has announced that it has further increased its household reach in the Benelux countries in 2012 to over 1.2 million homes. With a 19% increase compared to the previous year, Belgium topped the Benelux growth in ASTRA satellite homes. In Luxemburg, the number of household receiving programmes directly from the SES fleet increased by 16 percent. These – and other new details – are the result of the annual market research SES Satellite Monitor.
The study also showed that 980,000 satellite homes in the Benelux are now capable of receiving transmissions via the 23.5 degrees East orbital position, an increase of 12 percent in 2012. In the Netherlands, 93 percent of all satellite homes are now tuned into the 23.5 degrees East orbital position, only six years after its introduction as new Direct-To-Home spot for this market.
In total, SES now reaches 97% of all satellite homes in the Benelux. In addition, all major cable and IPTV providers in the Benelux are using the SES satellite fleet for the redistribution of one or more channels. As a result, the total SES reach in the Benelux amounts to 11.8 million households, 94% of all Benelux TV homes.
HD is an important element driving the continued growth of SES’ satellite reach in the Benelux countries, as witnessed by a wide range of Dutch and Belgian HD channels via Canal Digitaal, TV Vlaanderen and TéléSAT, the M7 Group-owned satellite TV platforms for the Netherlands and Belgium. The orbital position 23.5 degrees East is also used for the transmission of the Luxembourg TV channels like RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg and Chamber TV.
The SES Satellite Monitor also confirms the increasing popularity of satellite reception among people travelling in the Benelux and beyond. More than half a million Dutch and Belgium households receive television and radio channels via the SES satellite fleet on vacation, thereby benefiting from its Europe-wide footprint coverage. The recreational satellite users can now also opt for internet via satellite provided by SES Broadband Services and its Benelux partner Hertzinger.
“We are very pleased with the results of the SES Satellite Monitor for the Benelux,” says Bill Wijdeveld, Managing Director of SES’ Benelux affiliate. “This further enhances our role in this important region, in close partnership with our customer, the M7 Group. The growth also confirms that in a market dominated by land-based infrastructures, satellite has an important role to play, in particular when it comes to innovation. We are convinced that satellite will remain the leading infrastructure for delivering the widest range of HD channels to the largest possible audience.”