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Eutelsat, Intelsat and SES, CFE ink multi-orbit contracts enhancing satellite connectivity

Leading satellite operators add multi-orbit assets providing connectivity service for air, land and sea customers where demand is booming, and SES collaboration accelerates Mexican Government’s ‘internet for all’ initiative

Leading operator Eutelsat Communications has announced a multi-orbit agreement with Intelsat to enhance connectivity solutions over Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific, while rival SES has expanded its collaboration with the Mexican government in its “internet para todos” initiative that aims to bring reliable internet connectivity to underserved areas and close the digital divide in the country.

Under its new seven-year multimillion-euro capacity agreement with a progressive roll-out of assets over 2023, Intelsat will offer connectivity solutions for air, land and sea using Eutelsat’s high-throughput satellites (HTS) in the Ku-band, including the recently launched EUTELSAT 10B satellite and the OneWeb constellation, for which it is a partner.

The partners say customers worldwide will be able to benefit from a “seamless ubiquitous” connectivity service enabled by the combination of the GEO and LEO assets of the three entities: Eutelsat’s and Intelsat’s GEO fleets coupled with OneWeb’s low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite network.

“Eutelsat and OneWeb are proud to collaborate to provide Intelsat with the best connectivity solutions,” said Cyril Dujardin, general manager of the connectivity business unit of Eutelsat, and Ben Griffin, vice-president of mobility at OneWeb.

“This truly hybrid approach paves the way for thorough connectivity solutions for all stakeholders, be it in the air, at sea or on the ground. In all, it will deliver customers the best of both worlds in an integrated seamless approach.”

The deal comes after a previously announced agreement on the EUTELSAT 10B satellite in October 2019 between Eutelsat and Gogo Commercial Aviation, acquired by Intelsat in 2020.

The new capacity agreement adds to solution to a larger portion of Eutelsat’s HTS GEO (geostationary orbit) assets – EUTELSAT 172B, the coming EUTELSAT 10B and the future Flexsat – creating a “unique hybrid offer” that provides Intelsat with enhanced connectivity capacities. It also builds on an agreement from August 2022 whereby OneWeb and Intelsat planned to create a global distribution partnership to offer airlines a seamless inflight connectivity (IFC) service slated for launch in 2024.

Meanwhile, the Mexican federal agency CFE Telecomunicaciones e Internet para Todos (CFE TEIT) selected SES to deploy more than 1,100 broadband hotspots as part of the government initiative. The sites will be enabled by the very high throughput Ka-band SES-17 satellite, and are designed to benefit communities across the entire Mexican territory by providing free internet access in public areas.

SES’s Managed Internet via SES-17 will be delivered as a fully managed solution to the CFE TEIT, which the operator said will allow the federal agency to optimise bandwidth needs flexibly as demand changes, while also reducing the cost and complexity of delivering satellite connectivity. This collaboration sees the second deployment of SES’s capacity under the “internet para todos” initiative, following on from more than 1,000 free hotspots enabled via the SES-15 satellite in 2022.

Wi-Fi hotspots are installed in strategic places such as public squares, community spaces, schools and hospitals throughout the country to guarantee reliable internet access for the entire population, especially for the most remote regions and underserved communities.

According to the National Statistics and Geography Institute of Mexico (INEGI), only 66.4% of the households in the country had access to broadband in 2021. In states such as Chiapas, only 32.6% of the rural population had internet access. As of December 2022, CFE TEIT had installed a total of 55,360 points offering free internet to Mexican people. The target for January 2023 was for 140,000.

“Connecting the unconnected remains a vital challenge, as it can help to end isolation and diverse forms of marginalisation endured by many communities and individuals in remote areas that are outside the reach of terrestrial infrastructure,” said Omar Trujillo, vice-president of network sales for Americas at SES.

“At SES, we are very proud to support the CEF TEIT in their mission to connect all the Mexican population and bring reliable connectivity services that can support their productive, academic, and well-being activities.”

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