Telekom Austria Introduces Broadband by Satellite

[London, ENGLAND] Telekom Austria AG announced Thursday
the launch of broadband delivery via satellite, following
successful trials in a number of Austrian schools.

Named SkyMultiMedia, the new service has been characterized
as “ADSL from the Sky” because it provides Internet streaming
at speeds similar to those achieved over fixed lines.

Rudolf Fischer, chief technical officer of Telekom Austria,
said the Austrian telco had been using satellites in
another context since 1976. Now, however, the need for
broadband in areas not served by fixed lines has taken
the telco into space for a different reason.

“We can now use satellites not only for international telephony,
but also for corporate networks and broadcasting services —
they are the best technical means of transmitting and
disseminating information comprehensively across countries
and are therefore ideally suited for broadband data,”
said Fischer.

Friedrich Krajnik, head of the International Infrastructure
and Satellite Communications unit at Telekom Austria,
said that around 10,000 Austrian firms have offices abroad
and are potential targets for the new service.

“With SkyMultiMedia all national and international locations
of a company can be contacted simultaneously, or, for example,
a company can offer training sessions via its own internal
network. All employees of an international company can therefore
be updated simultaneously,” explained Krajnik.

Telekom Austria conducted a pilot project last year with
the Education Highway Innovationszentrum fur Schule und Neue
Technologie GmbH and ten schools around the country. It
broadcast teaching videos to all the schools simultaneously
from a central location, beaming the signal via satellite.

The technique, whereby data-on-demand is available for
downloading almost exactly like a television signal, opens
up many possibilities in education — with virtual schools and
cyber universities becoming part of the mainstream
educational system.

“Distances and geographic borders will no longer play a role.
Cooperation between educational institutions and the
telecommunications sector will be inevitable,” said
Fischer.

In the commercial world, several companies have used
Telekom Austria’s satellite services for broadcasting or
corporate networks, including the Billa Group for its
in-store program “Radio Max” and AT&S for its corporate
network.

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