EUROBIRD Will Beam Multimedia to Europe
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[London, ENGLAND] European satellite operator EUTELSAT announced Friday the successful launch of EUROBIRD, a new satellite that will provide additional bandwidth for entertainment and business networks in western and central Europe.
EUROBIRD is the first of three satellites scheduled for launch by EUTELSAT this year. It was launched into space from the Guiana Space Centre on board an Ariane 5 rocket at 22.51 GMT.
EUROBIRD's large footprint takes in both Germany and the British Isles, enabling the operators to serve millions of people with digital entertainment and IP connections.
In the U.K. and Ireland, EUROBIRD will serve five million homes equipped with 45cm antennas, via broadcasters such as BskyB, Extreme Sports, Online Classics and Euronews.
EUTELSAT Director General Giuliano Berretta said there was a tremendously high level of commercial interest in the new satellite. He added that EUTELSAT was committed to the continued growth and diversification of digital services in Europe.
The delivery of Internet services by satellite in Europe is still very limited, even though millions of people use satellite for receiving television programs. However, usage is almost certain to grow rapidly as more people discover they can use exactly the same 45 to 60 cm satellite dishes for the Internet as they use for TV.
EUTELSAT's skyDSL enables people to download files from the Internet, surfing at 125 times ISDN speed or 240 times normal modem speed.
Based in Paris, EUTELSAT broadcasts 850 channels to over 84 million satellite and cable homes. Its 2000 turnover was around US $640 million, up 45 percent over the previous year.