Delivering High-speed Wi-Fi to Airline Passengers Throughout Asia and Across the Pacific

Demand for in-flight connectivity in Asia Pacific will soar in the next decade, as passengers on flights that can last up to 17 hours take advantage of the on-board, high-speed Wi-Fi service enabled by the new generation of high-throughput satellites (HTS).

The frustrating Wi-Fi experience of the past few years is steadily improving as more aircraft are retrofitted with the equipment and antennas designed to take advantage of the powerful HTS satellite network. The launch of the Horizons 3e satellite expands our global Intelsat EpicNG constellation of high-throughput satellites, providing the first truly worldwide, Ku-band HTS network capable of delivering airline passengers the same Wi-Fi experience inflight that they enjoy at home or in their offices.

With the addition of Horizons 3e, the Intelsat EpicNG satellites bring more than 200 Gbps in orbit around the globe. Horizons 3e not only provides full coverage of the Asia Pacific region but also concentrates the bulk of its throughput over the most heavily-trafficked aero and maritime areas. Like the five other Intelsat EpicNG satellites already in orbit, Horizons 3e brings more throughput into orbit from a single satellite that any other commercially available global Ka-band satellite constellation. And as Intelsat continues to scale and replicate its investments in HTS mobility satellites, airlines and maritime operators can be assured that their investments in our Ku-band ecosystem will meet their needs today and in the future.

Airlines serving Asia are among the fastest growing in the world today, according to analysis firm NSR. India is on track to record 50 consecutive months of double-digit air passenger growth. China is poised to overtake the United States as the largest air passenger market, while India and Indonesia will soon leapfrog the United Kingdom, Japan, France, Spain, and Germany to take third and fourth place, respectively. In a recent report, NSR also predicts that while the number of aircraft serving Asia will double in the next decade, the capacity demand for in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) will increase more than 100-fold.

While airline operations within and going to and from the Asia Pacific region have some of the longest flight times in the world, the density of flights varies widely, requiring satellite operators to find the right balance of coverage and network performance that delivers optimum connectivity to passengers and flight crews. Routes along the northern arc of the Pacific – between North America and Asia – are heavily traveled, while those between Hawaii and Oceania have fewer flights. Aircraft flying the long-haul routes to and from Asia Pacific tend to be wide-body aircraft, with more passengers needing connectivity than on the shorter inter-Asian routes flown with narrow-body jets. Horizons 3e will deliver badly needed capacity to the region and offer layers of spot-beam and wide-beam Ku-band coverage to satisfy the demand along all the varied airline routes.

The Intelsat EpicNG satellites were specifically designed to provide high performance data connectivity for mobile networks and broadband communications on the move for the aviation, maritime and automotive sectors. Our design, featuring ubiquity, density and resilience, results in a network uniquely positioned to deliver advanced solutions. We provide customers with an open, scalable network on an all-digital, high performance platform, and the higher efficiency and better economics we deliver means service providers will be able to extend connectivity solutions to more markets and more users. We are a leader in connecting the world via HTS and are uniquely positioned to deliver solutions that create value for our customers and end users.

This throughput and coverage are just the beginning. Airline maritime operators can be assured that Intelsat’s Ku-band ecosystem can and will continue to grow to meet future mobility demand, so their investments in hardware will deliver broadband service today and will reward them into the future.

The advantages of HTS connectivity were demonstrated last year when Intelsat and Gogo took aviation and technology journalists on a two-hour flight out of Newark International Airport. Gogo equipped the airliner with its 2Ku antenna developed by ThinKom Solutions and the latest-generation satellite modem from Gilat – all connected to one of the three Intelsat EpicNG satellites that layer beams over the Atlantic Ocean region. During the flight, the journalists connected 53 different devices to the Internet, moving 29GB of data at speeds as high as 100 Mbps while they used Facetime, Netflix, Facebook Live, and other high-bandwidth services to test the capabilities of the system. Gogo has contracts in place to add the 2Ku technology to 1,600 aircraft by the end of 2018. Supported by the Intelsat EpicNG satellites, this will deliver passengers the same level of service they have at home.

With the launch of Horizons 3e, Intelsat service providers such as Gogo will offer airlines in Asia a connection to a world-wide HTS network designed to meet bandwidth demand on any airline route. The Intelsat EpicNG satellites tie in with our existing wide-band constellation of Ku-band spacecraft, so service providers will have the coverage and redundancy they need to deliver broadband services to aircraft wherever they may fly.

Routes to and from Asia are key to almost every international airline in the world. Horizons 3e completes the first phase of our Intelsat EpicNG project, allowing airlines flying Asia Pacific routes to give passengers the highest level of mobile broadband available. To make sure our customers can satisfy growing passenger demand for in-flight connectivity, Intelsat will continue to add to our global HTS fleet. The more power and capacity we can add to the world’s airline routes, the better the experience will be for our customers and ultimately, the passenger.

Intelsat, SES, Eutelsat and Telesat Establish the C-Band Alliance (CBA)

The CBA is a Consortium to Facilitate Clearing of U.S. Mid-band Spectrum for 5G While Protecting U.S. Content Distribution and Data Networks.

The CBA is designed to act as a facilitator as described in a recent U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proceeding featuring the companies’ market-based proposal to clear a portion of C-band spectrum in the United States. The formation of the CBA is a significant achievement and demonstrates the industry alignment necessary to make this mid-band spectrum available quickly, thus supporting the U.S. objective of winning the race to introduce terrestrial 5G services.

The market-based proposal was developed in response to a proceeding initiated by the FCC in August 2017, which led to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that was formally approved by the FCC on July 12, 2018 and published in the Federal Register of August 30, 2018. The proposal reflects the unique U.S. telecommunications environment and aims to protect the quality and reliability of the extensive services provided by satellite operators in the C-band spectrum to U.S. broadcasters, media, and data companies. The proposal establishes a commercial and technical framework that would enable terrestrial mobile operators to quickly access spectrum in a portion of the 3,700 to 4,200 MHz frequency band in the U.S., speeding the deployment of next-generation 5G services.

The proposal specifies the use of a consortium, now known as the CBA, to undertake the technical and commercial implementation of the spectrum clearing process. This process is necessary to repurpose the C-band spectrum for use in a 5G environment. The CBA will be led, effective immediately, by Bill Tolpegin, currently CEO of OTA Broadcasting, who will serve as Chief Executive Officer of CBA.Media sector veteran Preston Padden will serve as Head of Advocacy and Government Relations.

A significant milestone in the progression of the proposal, the establishment of the CBA signifies that the satellite operators delivering the vast majority of satellite C-band services in the U.S. have agreed upon the key technical and commercial steps necessary to enable commercial implementation of the spectrum clearing process. The CBA also ensures that customer services are protected from potential interference as new wireless services are introduced into the cleared portion of the spectrum.

Digital Television is Transforming the Viewing Experience for African Households

By Rob Cerbone, Vice President and General Manager, Media (Intelsat).

The digital terrestrial television (“DTT”) transition is a big opportunity for broadcasters to offer more differentiated content to African viewers. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone the number of TV households are expected to grow by 43 million since 2016, reaching 131 million by 2023, according to September, 2018 research from Dataxis. With Africa expected to be the fastest-growing TV market in the world, digital television will enable broadcasters to differentiate their service offerings, increase market share, open new revenue possibilities and importantly, bring more entertaining and informative, high quality content to viewers throughout Africa.

Some nations in Africa have already completed the transition, significantly improving viewers’ experience while making valuable spectrum available for other services. That means clearer picture quality and high definition (HD) content, more channels, access to new programming and more content choices for viewers.

While the promise of digital terrestrial television (“DTT”) is compelling, the reality of migrating to DTT can be daunting, costly and challenging to implement for many governments and broadcasters.


Intelsat has helped broadcasters around the world making the digital switch. Multichoice’s GoTV, the largest DTT and direct-to-home provider in Africa, has relied on Intelsat’s redundant and resilient satellites and expertise to successfully launch their DTT solutions across 12 countries, enhancing the viewing experience for more than 2.9 million people. Similarly, the Africa Digital Network Limited (ADNL), a consortium of two Kenyan media companies, leveraged Intelsat for DTT rollout, delivering content to the entire population, including many rural and remote areas.

As with Multichoice and ADNL, many broadcasters around the world have counted on the reliability, reach and scalability of Intelsat’s satellite solutions to cost effectively make the digital switch. For example:

  • In Africa DTH and DTT will serve 98% of Africa homes by 2022. Intelsat has the largest video neighborhoods in Africa with seven satellites broadcasting 900 channels. And it’s not just Africa where Intelsat’s leading video neighborhoods offer unprecedented reach. African broadcasters can reach their diaspora all over the world through Intelsat’s premier video neighborhoods.
  • It has the benefit of speed. Broadcasters can transmit signals to satellite and instantly reach viewers. By leveraging Intelsat’s satellite solutions with the IntelsatOne terrestrial network of redundant fiber and teleports, broadcasters can focus on growing their audience rather than building expensive infrastructure.
  • Our high-throughput satellites in Africa, Intelsat 33e, Intelsat 35e and Intelsat 37e, are enabling companies to access higher performance bandwidth which is well-suited for supporting a fast, cost efficient and reliable DTT transition.
  • Intelsat’s proven, high quality network can deliver HD content today, but is also capable of delivering 4K and 8K content through our premier video neighborhoods in Africa and around the world.

Finally, Intelsat’s satellite solutions enable broadcasters to grow their audiences, not their costs. The cost to broadcasters doesn’t change whether they reach hundreds of thousands, millions or tens of millions on Intelsat’s premier video neighborhoods.

African broadcasters have a big job, but they aren’t alone. Intelsat has partnered with leading broadcasters to smoothly migrate to digital, cost-effectively deliver high quality content, and reach more viewers.

Eutelsat partners with Intelsat and SES in U.S. C-band Spectrum Proposal

Leading global satellite operators Intelsat S.A. and Eutelsat announced today that they are aligned on a market-based proposal for the future use of the lower C-band spectrum in the U.S. Eutelsat has agreed to join the breakthrough proposal initiated by Intelsat, Intel and SES.

The market-based proposal was developed in response to a proceeding initiated by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The proposal reflects the unique U.S. telecommunications environment and aims to protect the quality and reliability of the extensive services provided by satellite operators in the C-band spectrum to U.S. broadcasters, media, and data companies. The proposal establishes a commercial and technical framework that would enable terrestrial mobile operators to quickly access spectrum in the 3,700 to 4,200 MHz frequency band in the U.S., speeding the deployment of next-generation 5G services.

C-band spectrum plays an essential role in the U.S. broadcasting ecosystem, delivering seamless distribution of video and audio programming to more than 100 million U.S. households, and reliably providing critical data connectivity in rural areas and emergency situations, as well as services delivered to the U.S. government.

The proposal specifies the use of a consortium, which is open to all satellite operators delivering services in the C-band downlink frequencies in any part of the lower 48 United States. The consortium will oversee the governance of the initiative, define and implement the methodology for spectrum clearance, and serve as the sole interface for market-based transactions with parties interested in deploying terrestrial mobile services in specific portions of the C-band.

With Eutelsat joining the proposal, the three satellite operators will continue to work with customers, other stakeholders, and the FCC on the market-based proposal. The next phase of this effort will begin with the FCC’s planned adoption of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Thursday, July 12. Intelsat, SES and Eutelsat together represent a very substantial majority of the relevant satellite C-band spectrum in use in the U.S.

“We are pleased to be joining this proposal which aims to create fair conditions for the shared use of C-band with mobile operators in the U.S. while protecting the quality of services provided to our customers over the long term,” said Rodolphe Belmer, CEO of Eutelsat. “By joining this collaborative process, we will be able to advance our interests and those of our clients and contribute to the momentum of the initiative.”


In a joint statement, Intelsat CEO Stephen Spengler and SES President and CEO Steve Collar said: “We are pleased to have Eutelsat join Intelsat and SES in this endeavor, demonstrating that the industry is able to unite, collaborate and fully implement our market-driven proposal. Our solution is the only one which will maintain the high quality of the hundreds of incumbent services operating in the C-band today, protect the significant investments in space and ground infrastructure delivering these crucial services while also supporting the U.S. goal of accelerating the 5G era.”

Satellite industry to enter operational phase of Crisis Connectivity Charter for support of global disaster relief

Members of the satellite community, including Eutelsat, signed yesterday contribution agreements with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), on behalf of the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC), stepping up their commitment to support global disaster relief.


These contribution agreements are the final steps in operationalizing the Crisis Connectivity Charter signed in late 2015 between the EMEA Satellite Operators Association (ESOA), the Global VSAT Forum (GVF), the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Aid (OCHA) and the ETC.

The Crisis Connectivity Charter signed by Eutelsat, Arabsat, Global Eagle, Hispasat, Inmarsat, Intelsat, SES, Thuraya and Yahsat, will help the humanitarian community by greatly enhancing their access to vital satellite-based communications when local networks are affected, destroyed or overloaded following disasters.

Under the contribution agreements, the Charter Signatories are now committing satellite equipment and capacity that will be dedicated for humanitarian purposes during emergency responses. The ETC, under the global leadership of WFP, will be able to activate the Charter when disaster strikes and identify which pre-planned solutions are immediately available for any given region and need in order to meet a 24-hour deployment timeline after a crisis. Eutelsat’s contribution agreement consists principally of pre-allocated bandwidth on four of its satellites across the globe, complemented on the ground by ready-to-deploy satellite kits.

Simon Gray, Eutelsat’s Vice President of Humanitarian Affairs and Coordinator for the Crisis Connectivity Charter, commented on this milestone: “The satellite industry is the first sector where such a unified effort has been undertaken to standardise disaster response on a global scale. Today, the UN has the unprecedented ability to immediately access the right equipment and capacity in order to re-establish communication where it is needed.”

Eutelsat has been actively involved with the humanitarian community for 25 years, sharing industry’s belief that satellite services play an important role in disaster relief. With the increasing number of protracted, complex emergencies and high demand for bandwidth, the commitments from the global satellite industry are timely and will be critical assets for the humanitarian community. The satellite industry’s contributions will enable Internet access during emergencies to support humanitarian operations including logistics, urgent medical care, food delivery and the coordination of relief efforts.The Charter Signatories have also provided training and capacity building for WFP and ETC partners’ field-staff on the installation and use of the satellite equipment to be deployed.


Since signing the Charter, satellite operators have been active on all continents supporting WFP, governments and NGOs during Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and in Haiti, Nepal and Vanuatu to name just a few. Via satellite they have enabled VOIP, WiFi and Internet Access to support supply logistics, urgent medical care and coordination of relief efforts.

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Intelsat Debuts New MCPC Platform for Central and Eastern Europe

Intelsat S.A. announced that it has launched a new, Ku-band Multi-Channel Per Carrier (MCPC) media platform for Central and Eastern Europe.

As part of the IntelsatOne terrestrial network, the platform will provide regional and international programmers with a cost-effective solution that will enable them to expand their reach to cable headends, Direct-to-Home (DTH) and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) distribution.

Encompass Digital Media (Encompass), a global technology services company delivering end-to-end video solutions to broadcast and media companies, will provide multiplexing services for the platform from its facility in London, and Intelsat will provide further ground and uplink facilities from its Fuchsstadt, Germany teleport. Programmers will be able to contribute standard (SD) or high definition (HD) content from anywhere around the world via Intelsat’s global satellite fleet, the IntelsatOne network or through Encompass’ network. The platform is set to support MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 compression technology, and Intelsat’s high-powered wide beams, optimized for DTH, can be received with 60cm antennas in much of its coverage area.

The new MCPC platform will provide programmers with immediate access to 1°West, one of Europe’s premier video neighborhoods, located on the Intelsat 10-02 satellite. With four leading DTH platforms and over 425 unique channels reaching approximately 18 million households across Europe, programmers will have access to a highly reliable solution for cable/IPTV and affiliate distribution, will have the ability to leverage the platform’s high quality, existing channel content, and will have an opportunity to cost-effectively launch new channels and test new markets.

“Intelsat and Encompass have a strong history of working together to deliver innovative solutions that enable international programmers to cost effectively grow their distribution network,” said Rob Cerbone, Intelsat’s VP and General Manager, Media. “Working closely with Encompass, we will be able to provide international programmers with immediate access to millions of households, enabling them to distribute high-quality, secure, differentiated and entertaining content to viewers across Central and Eastern Europe.”


“Our longstanding partnership with Intelsat provides international programmers with a simple, turnkey solution for content distribution,” said Encompass’ Marc Bruce, Managing Director, APAC & EMEA. “The new MCPC platform at 1°West will provide our customers with immediate access to one of the leading video neighborhoods in Europe, the ability to operate more efficiently and deliver high-quality and compelling content to their viewers.”

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Intelsat Selected by Gilat for Recent 4G Network Expansion in the US

Intelsat S.A. , operator of the world’s first Globalized Network and leader in integrated satellite solutions, was selected by Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd., a worldwide leader in satellite networking technology, to support Gilat’s solutions to leading mobile network operators (MNOs) in the United States as they accelerate their expansion of 4G wireless services to underserved areas across North America.

Gilat will leverage Ku-band satellite services from two Intelsat satellites to enable MNOs to execute on their expansion plans and quickly increase network coverage to serve remote areas of the North American market.

“Gilat is the leading LTE satellite backhaul solution provider to MNOs worldwide who require rapid and efficient network expansion,” said Ron Levin, Vice President Global Accounts at Gilat. “In our recent projects in North America, we selected Intelsat for its strengths in scalability and reliability, and ability to provide unprecedented reach, availability and consistency of service that network operators require.”


“Intelsat’s Globalized Network was designed to support the broadening connectivity requirements of MNO customers,” said Jean-Philippe Gillet, Intelsat’s Vice President and General Manager, Broadband. “Gilat’s selection of Intelsat is a testament to our ability to seamlessly integrate with other technologies in a simpler manner as needed to support MNOs as they expand service availability to rural and remote regions, whether those are in mature markets such as the United States or in growing markets in the developing world. We have created a clear roadmap and solid foundation that will enable Intelsat’s market leading satellite technology to continue to lead and serve as a backbone to the hybrid networks of the future.”

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