Satnews Daily
February 12th, 2015

SES + Astra Connect For Communities Take Internet To All The Country's Nooks + Crannies

[SatNews] SES (NYSE Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG) today announced that its Astra Connect for Communities solution will be used in a U.K. Government-funded Market Test Pilot (MTP) project. These Pilot projects aim to assess which technologies and commercial models are best suited to deliver superfast broadband to the final five percent of households in the U.K. that currently do not have access to high-speed Internet.

Astra Connect for communities. For the last five years Astra Connect service has helped to bridge the digital divide by providing satellite Internet to the households outside the reach of other broadband technologies. Our solution Astra Connect for communities builds on this expertise to bring Internet connectivity to an entire community via one single satellite antenna. 

SES is working with Satellite Internet, the U.K.-based Internet Service Provider, to deliver its satellite broadband solution to the villages of Simonsbath and Luxborough in south-west England. The villages, each with a population of about 200 residents and located in Exmoor National Park, will benefit from a Satellite Distribution Node (SDN) and a Wi-Fi head-end technology providing homes with Internet speeds of up to 25 Mbps. 

Last year SES successfully rolled out several Astra Connect for Communities networks in Germany’s Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Baden-Wurttemberg states. Another 35 networks are due to be completed by the end of June 2015 in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.   

Satellite Internet was selected for this project by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in June 2014, having applied for funding from Broadband Delivery U.K.’s GBP 10 million Innovation Fund.  The provider has worked closely with Connecting Devon and Somerset, a public-private partnership of six local authorities set up to deliver next generation broadband infrastructure to areas where commercial investment plans are absent. 

A feasibility study for this project has already been carried out and the deployment in Luxborough started last month. Further installations in Somerset are due to take place later this year.   

“This is a great initiative and we are pleased that our proven, reliable and cost-effective satellite solution is being evaluated for potential nationwide roll-out in the U.K.,” said Patrick Biewer, Managing Director of SES Broadband Service.

Secretary of Culture, Media and Sport Sajid Javid said: “We want everyone in the U.K. to be able to enjoy the benefits of superfast broadband, that’s why we have begun work on reaching the last five percent of communities not covered by existing plans.”