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Eutelsat Lines to Provide the Elusive Holy Grail of African Pay TV Growth

London — Triple Play holds out the prospect of faster household growth for both broadcasters and telcos in Africa. Nevertheless thus far, legal restrictions on supplying one or more of the different components have stymied attempts to get it off the ground. For all that, Eutelsat has pitched itself into this search for the holy grail of growth with its IP Easy product. Senior innovation analyst Sylvain Béletre talks to Eutelsat's Gaethan Donlap Kouanga, sales and marketing manager for central Africa and to Jean-François Fremaux, Director of market development at Eutelsat.

The last Satcom 2012

At the last Satcom 2012, Eutelsat announced that its new 'IP Easy' broadband platform extends high-speed internet access to residential and home office users as so then as small and medium-sized enterprises across sub-Saharan Africa. Delivering downlink speeds of up to 4Mbps, the service can be configured to support VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and satellite reception of TV channels in dual and triple play modes. Since at the time, the company has started rolling out the solution within its distribution network.

A. Eutelsat has been providing broadband services in Africa since 2003, principally targeting users with high bandwidth requirements, nevertheless with IP Easy, we are now reaching a new level. Launched at Satcom Africa in May 2012, IP Easy was built to extend high-speed Internet access to residential and home office users as then as small and medium-sized enterprises across sub-Saharan Africa. The service can as well be configured to support VOIP. Should the contingency arise, users can as well bundle their Internet access with TV channels reception via a single antenna, allowing them to benefit from a triple play mode. Combining the strengths of Ku-band capacity on the recently-launched Eutelsat 16A satellite with Newtec's successful Sat3Play research, IP Easy is available across Africa, from the Gulf of Guinea to Madagascar.

The IP Easy hub is located at Eutelsat's Skylogic Mediteraneo teleport, which provides broadband services for users in Africa thanks to its location in the south of Europe and its direct access to the internet backbone via key Points of Presence in Europe.

A. We wanted to provide a service that would enable its users to self-install the equipment. This is why Newtec's proven Sat3Play platform and its system's Point&Play facility were selected. It works with a 1 meter dish and a PC-connected modem. A hearing aid helps align the dish more easily and there is no need to configure the modem. The main advantage is that end users can autonomously install the complete system with no specific qualification needed or expensive tooling. For maximum bandwidth efficiency, the terminal incorporates numerous advanced features just as DVB-S2 modulation and coding, rain fade countermeasures, end-to-end Quality of Service mechanisms and state-of-the-art acceleration and compression technologies. The kit is available via a strong network of local service providers.

A. IP Easy responds to pent-up demand for broadband from the many users beyond terrestrial networks in Africa. Without using great amounts of energy, the service can reliance on local energy sources just as solar energy via solar panels. It delivers downlink speeds of up to 4Mbps, irrespective of your location within EUTELSAT 16A's coverage, from the Gulf of Guinea to Madagascar. It can be configured to support VOIP and satellite reception of TV channels in triple play mode. The installation of the 1 meter dish and modem connected to a PC is so simple that it can be performed without the need for costly specialised installers, and the terminal requires no configuration at all, furthermore reducing the initial investment for each new site.

A. The solution has a trans-continental coverage from Senegal to Madagascar. We are initiating the service in countries around the Gulf of Guinea, places with high density of population and significant earnings per capita, and in Madagascar where the lack of telecoms infrastructures creates a real possibility for the part of the population with adequate earnings.

A. Pricing levels are set by our network of distributors and are competitive compared to ADSL subscription fees in Europe.

More information: Allafrica