PARIS, December 6, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- One week after France's national public broadcaster initiated delivery via the W2A satellite of Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) channels to terrestrial towers in Reunion Island and Mayotte, France Televisions and Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL) announce that a second satellite signal has been opened to enable commercial operators in the region to integrate digital public channels into their platforms.
Using capacity on Eutelsat's W2A satellite to deliver channels to terrestrial towers, the launch of DTT on December 1 enables the population of both Indian Ocean islands to access an offer of 10 free-to-air digital channels, compared to the previous offer of one over-the-air analogue channel, Tempo.
France Televisions is now taking digital broadcasting a further step forward with the launch of a second satellite signal, operated at Eutelsat's 16degrees East position, which already serves all commercial operators in francophone Indian Ocean islands. This new signal enables France Televisions to meet its obligations to complement terrestrial broadcasting with Direct-to-Home satellite reception and also to ensure the availability of public channels to commercial platforms.
Nine public service channels (France 2, France 3, France 4, France 5, France O, Arte, France 24, Reunion 1ere and Mayotte 1ere) are uplinked by France Televisions direct to Eutelsat capacity from metropolitan France. TDF, that operates the terrestrial broadcast network in Reunion Island and Mayotte, subsequently adds on site the signals of the two local commercial channels, Antenne Reunion and Tele Kreol.
The contract concluded between Eutelsat and France Televisions represents the equivalent of a full transponder, which is currently operated on W2A at 10 degrees East for technical services to terrestrial towers, and on W2M at 16 degrees East for Direct-to-Home satellite reception by homes beyond range of terrestrial reception and for channel availability to commercial operators. Following the scheduled arrival in mid-2011 of Eutelsat's W3C satellite at 16 degrees East, France Televisions will concentrate all digital services for francophone Indian Ocean islands at a single neighbourhood.
Christian Augereau, Operations Director for overseas territories at France Televisions, commented on the agreement: "The selection of Eutelsat enables France Televisions to significantly expand an offer of free-to-air public channels for viewers in Reunion Island and Mayotte and further consolidates a longstanding partnership between our two companies. With satellite delivery of channels to terrestrial towers, direct to homes beyond terrestrial reception and to commercial platforms, the entire population of both islands can immediately benefit from digital public broadcasting services. DTT also represents an opportunity for local channels in Reunion Island and Mayotte to transition into a digital environment at the same pace as national channels."
Andrew Wallace, Eutelsat's Chief Commercial Officer, added: "The launch in digital of nine public channels for Reunion Island and Mayotte, in comparison to one analogue channel, represents a transformation of the television landscape. We are delighted to be playing our role in this step forward, and also to ensure availability of public channels for the commercial platforms serving both islands that broadcast without exception from our video neighbourhood at 16 degrees East."
About Eutelsat Communications
Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL, ISIN code: FR0010221234) is the holding company of Eutelsat S.A.. With capacity commercialised on 26 satellites that provide coverage over the entire European continent, as well as the Middle East, Africa, India and significant parts of Asia and the Americas, Eutelsat is one of the world's three leading satellite operators in terms of revenues. At 30 September 2010, Eutelsat's satellites were broadcasting more than 3,700 television channels. More than 1,100 channels broadcast via its HOT BIRD(TM) video neighbourhood at 13 degrees East which serves over 120 million cable and satellite homes in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The Group's satellites also serve a wide range of fixed and mobile telecommunications services, TV contribution markets, corporate networks, and broadband markets for Internet Service Providers and for transport, maritime and in-flight markets. Eutelsat's broadband subsidiary, Skylogic, markets and operates access to high speed internet services through teleports in France and Italy that serve enterprises, local communities, government agencies and aid organisations in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. Headquartered in Paris, Eutelsat and its subsidiaries employ nearly 661 commercial, technical and operational employees from 28 countries
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