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.

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