EU to launch dedicated broadband satellite

The new Hylas satellite will deliver high-quality broadband access across Europe

There is light at the end of the tunnel for the estimated 20 million Europeans who cannot get high-quality broadband access. On Friday a new satellite will be launched that will deliver broadband Internet access to consumers and businesses across the European Union.

The Hylas 1 satellite is the first European satellite dedicated to providing broadband as well as a range of conventional telecommunications services. Huylas, created by ESA and Avanti, stands for "Highly Adaptable Satellite," and adaptability is one of its unique selling points, according to the European Space Agency (ESA).

Although broadband Internet is the main application, the system is designed to ensure the easy inclusion of other communications applications such as HDTV broadcasting and data distribution services at a later date. Hylas can also respond to a dynamic business environment and adapt to changes in market requirements for broadband and broadcast satellite services, according to the ESA.

Hylas has been designed using the advanced Ku- and Ka-band payloads. The Ka-band provides coverage of selected parts of Europe where the greatest commercial opportunities exist for broadband service provision via satellite. Ka-band spot beams will also mean reduced costs for end users as they allow efficient point-to-point communication with low-cost equipment. This means that Hylas will be able to deliver high-quality broadband services at a price comparable with terrestrial services, Avanti said

The Hylas project started in December 2005 and following this week's launch from Kourou in French Guyane, there will be a year-long demonstration phase, during which the flexibility of the payload and a series of advanced broadband applications will be demonstrated.

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