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New satellite brings more choice to British consumers and broadcasters

British television viewers will have more choice in the range of programmes available to them from this month onwards with the entry of EUTELSAT, the pioneer of digital satellite broadcasting in Europe, into the mainstream British market.

EUTELSAT’s new EUROBIRD satellite that is positioned in orbit at 28.5 degrees East, enables broadcasters to directly target over five million direct-to-home (DTH) satellite households in the UK and Ireland. The satellite went live at the beginning of last month and is dedicated to the provision of digital in-the-clear services to the UK, as well as business-to-business networks in central Europe.

BSkyB has sub-leased four digital transponders on the new satellite from EUTELSAT signatory BT Broadcast Services - allowing Sky to increase the number of channels and services it offers to digital satellite viewers in the UK and Ireland.

In addition to its transponder sales, Broadcast Services is offering a EUROBIRD multiplex service for broadcasters wishing to target the UK DTH audience – currently five million and increasing.

In addition, GlobeCast Northern Europe has two multiplexes on EUROBIRD. The first multiplex, will go live at the end of April and will include EuroNews, Extreme Sports and Online Classics. The second will be operational on July 1 and will include Trinity Broadcasting Network.

With EUROBIRD, EUTELSAT is participating in one of Europe’s most mature direct-to-home broadcasting markets. The company is also strengthening its foundation in the UK for the future delivery of multimedia and interactive services. Further satellite launches this year will augment EUTELSAT’s IP and data delivery capability as well as provide flexible and competitive links from the Americas direct into Europe.

The availability of EUROBIRD reinforces EUTELSAT’s position as one of the leading providers of satellite capacity for broadcasting and business services. EUTELSAT's Penetration Survey in 2000 showed that programmes from its five HOT BIRD satellites broadcast into 76 per cent (56.1 million) of cable and satellite homes in Western Europe and 80 per cent (19.6 million) of cable and satellite homes in Central and Eastern Europe.

EUTELSAT Director General, Giuliano Berretta, said: "EUROBIRD delivers capacity that offers high power on the ground and flexible coverage options at an orbital position of strategic importance in Europe. We are now in British homes and we look forward to expanding the range and nature of our service offerings both to British consumers and to the business market where demand for Internet-related services is particularly strong.”

Malcolm Campbell, head of commercial and sales, BT Broadcast Services said: "As a major signatory of EUTELSAT, we were delighted when we secured the sale of four digital transponders to Sky. We have consistently played a major role in the UK DTH market and the EUROBIRD satellite is helping us further serve the needs of broadcasters wishing to reach cable and satellite homes."

Sarah Williams, Chief Executive at GlobeCast Northern Europe, said: "EUROBIRD is a perfect platform for broadcasters wanting to deliver their programming to UK digital satellite viewers, especially for those wishing to be part of the BSkyB digital platform. By providing connectivity with BSkyB, GlobeCast's full service offering allows broadcasters to uplink Sky EPG data and operate Sky conditional access. This complete service offering and competitive pricing strategy has already paid off with three customers signing up before EUROBIRD was even launched."

In Germany, EUROBIRD will serve growing requirements for satellite-based infrastructure for applications that include VSAT networks for large file transfer, videoconferencing and stock control. The satellite will also be used for TV channel delivery to cable headends in Germany and neighbouring countries.

EUROBIRD was launched on March 8 by Arianespace. It joins the 18 other satellites operated by EUTELSAT that provide coverage of Europe, Africa, large parts of Asia and connectivity with North America. Capacity on three additional satellites is also used by EUTELSAT according to arrangements with other operators.

About EUTELSAT
As one of the world’s leading satellite operators, Paris-based EUTELSAT enables TV and radio broadcasters, Internet service providers, telecommunications companies and corporations to transmit and receive content throughout Europe and Africa, large parts of Asia and the Americas. EUTELSAT was the first operator in Europe to deliver Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) consumer television and today broadcasts 850 channels to over 84 million satellite and cable homes, making it one of the largest TV offers to one of the largest audiences in the world. Fifty-six per cent of EUTELSAT satellite capacity is used for television broadcasting and just over 40 per cent for services that include high-speed Internet access and Internet backbone connections. EUTELSAT turnover for 2000 was €685 million, representing a 46 per cent increase over 1999.

For more information or photography contact:

Gail Sheridan: Tel: 020 7580 0222 email: gails@keycommunications.co.uk,
Kelly Grant: Tel: 020 7580 0222 email: kellyg@keycommunications.co.uk,
Magdalen Bush: Tel: 020 7580 0222 email: magdalenb@keycommunications.co.uk

Visit the EUTELSAT Web site at: www.eutelsat.com



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