After a few months of protracted negotiations with Viasat, Eutelsat said that it would go alone on a new satellite instead of investing in the ViaSat-3 satellite on April 5.
Thales Alenia Space is building Konnect VHTS (Very High Throughput Satellite) in order to bring 500 Gigabits-per-second with Ka-band capacity to different markets all over Europe. Also, they are building the ground segment.
Eutelsat’s decision to forgo the ViaSat-3 satellite investment with coverage of Africa, Europe, and the Middle East comes after a few months of discussions with California-based Viasat Carlsbad, which started last year.
Rodolphe Belmer, the Chief Executive Officer of the company, said that the negotiations were continuing over the ViaSat-3 EMEA satellite. Those were expected to end in 2017. But they were dragged this 2018.
It’s not clear what influence Eutelsat’s Konnect VHTS purchase will give in the venture. The company was co-financing the satellite for about $162 million. The Viasat investment obtained a 49% stake in the KA-SAT broadband satellite of the Eutelsat.
Marie-Sophie Ecuer, the Eutelsat spokeswoman, said that the joint venture will still operate on KA-SAT in an interview from SpaceNews. “The company has the right to make the investment of Konnect VHTS outside the venture, so there will be no impact,” she added.
Eutelsat said that Konnect VHTS is going to have the strongest digital processor that can provide flexibility in the capacity allocation, incredible ground network deployment, and maximum spectrum use. Even though its capacity is only half compared to the ViaSat-3 satellite, it is more concentrated.
Aside from that, there is no doubt that it is one of the highest capacity satellites these days. It has a mass of 6,300 and will be operational in 2021. The company has not yet publicized a launch company for the satellite.
Thales and Orange are two anchor customers that agreed to the capacity distribution contracts with the Konnect VHTS. The former will give emphasis on fixed broadband in some European countries while the latter will deliver the service to the government sector.
Eutelsat has been adding new capacity to Africa, Europe, and the Middle East thru Al Yah 3 satellite lease. YahSat confirmed that the satellite will reach the orbital slots this year. Other Eutelsat satellites will be launched in 2019.
The high quality and strong broadband will play a huge role in the growth of Eutelsat. The VHTS satellites will lead to stable internet or connectivity that different markets need.