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Eutelsat expands services in the Middle East and North Africa

The number of TV channels carried by Eutelsat in the Middle East and North Africa grew by 35% in 2011, totaling 822 Arab and international channels, the France-based satellite operator has announced.

The cluster of five satellites positioned at 7 degrees East, operated by Eutelsat and Egypt’s Nilesat, were augmented by the in-service arrival of Atlantic Bird 7 satellite in October 2011. Eutelsat’s latest addition boosted the region’s high definition television (HDTV) capacity with 50 Ku-band transponders, and leading regional broadcasters including MBC, Al Jazeera and pay-TV platform OSN have already snapped up its HD service.

Saudi-based Rotana Cinema has also recently taken transponder space on Atlantic Bird 7 to broadcast its popular Arabic film channels. The addition at the end of 2011 marked 4,000 channels now carried by Eutelsat worldwide.

Of the 822 channels broadcast from 7 degrees West, 80% are free to air and the remaining 20% are pay-TV, said Eutelsat ahead of the annual CabSat Dubai trade show, which begins on 28 February.

Newsgathering and other cost-efficient broadband and video services delivered via KA-SAT will be exhibited by Eutelsat in Dubai. The event will also see the announcement by Eutelsat of a new data and voice broadband connectivity service for SOHOs and SMEs from Senegal to Madagascar. The platform will utilise Ku-band capacity on the W3C satellite located at 16 degrees East, using Newtec IP-based hub technology housed at Eutelsat’s teleport in Sardinia, Italy.

The company will also highlight new satellite programmes for telecom operators, video and government service providers, which are set for launch at the end of 2012. Eutelsat’s W6A and W5A will provide regional coverage and connectivity between Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia – including Australia.