RealTime IT News

Belgacom Launches "Internet Over Satellite"

[London, ENGLAND] Belgian telecom operator Belgacom announced Friday a partnership with EUTELSAT to launch a new service called Internet Over Satellite.

The service, which starts in October, is aimed at ISPs and businesses located in areas where they are poorly served by the wired Internet infrastructure. It will initially offer a 45 Mbps connection on the forward link from the backbone to the ISP and up to 8 Mbps on the return link.

Belgacom says it can customize higher speed connections for customers, following a US $10 million deal it has concluded with SkyVision, a U.K. firm that provides a global satellite-based Internet backbone connectivity service.

Belgium's Internet backbone, called Belbone, connects with the two main Internet backbones in the United States. It also links with major European Points of Presence (POPs) and to the Internet in Asia via Singapore Telecom.

Belgacom itself is half-owned by the Belgian state, which has a one-share greater interest than its partner ADSB Telecommunications, a consortium of investors including SBC, Singapore Telecom, and Tele Danmark. It is Belgium's leading supplier of Internet access services through its Skynet subsidiary.

Media attention always puts the larger European telecom companies in the spotlight -- such as BT, France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom. However, Belgacom has quietly expanded its own operations beyond its national borders. It has activities in France via Belgacom France, in the Netherlands via BEN, in other parts of Europe with Tritone Telecom, and in North America through Belgacom North America.

The new partnership with EUTELSAT will add a further dimension to Belgacom's capabilities. Europe's leading satellite operator currently has 18 satellites broadcasting over 700 TV channels to more than 81 million homes.