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Paris, Turin, July 19, 2001 - Italian mulitmedia group Euphon has signed an agreement with Eutelsat, one of the world’s leading providers for satellite communications solutions, to create a new satellite infrastructure for telecommunications services, television and multimedia distribution, and data transmission.

The project will see an investment of approximately 35 million Euros (more than £21 million) over ten years to build the satellite platform, which is expected to be amortised and recovered within a few years. The investment will be used to create hardware structures, define and develop new services, acquire the satellite capacity needed to relay transmissions and for operational and marketing support.

Under the agreement, Eutelsat will supply the space segment capacity and the satellite communications platform complete with all necessary hardware and software to be located in a dedicated area in the Euphon studios in Turin. Euphon will be responsible for operating and supporting the system.

The new satellite platform will be based on OPENSKY (see note below). A range of services will be available, including:

- Distribution of video signals for business TV, corporate networks and e-learning;

- Distribution of video signals for entertainment;

- Distribution of video signals for broadcasting live events or electronic transmissions for cinemas and other public screenings;

- Data distribution for company networks;

- Provision of fast Internet and intranet services by satellite, with the return channel via telephone line;

- Distribution of video-streaming signals for Internet and for data reception on PCs connected to a satellite dish and fitted with a smart card.

The project will also provide the platform's customers with high added-value services, such as editing and processing audio-visual material, managing multimedia content and customised broadband satellite applications, including bidirectional services for small and medium-sized enterprises.

This is an important project for Eutelsat following its restructuring as a French société anonyme, the first European intergovernmental organisation to undergo privatisation.

This new digital platform is a tangible demonstration of Eutelsat’s drive to bring satellite infrastructure increasingly closer to potential users. Locating the platform in Turin, considered Italy's main centre of technology, will guarantee simpler satellite access for this highly-developed manufacturing region known as the ‘Industrial Triangle’, embracing large-scale industries and SMEs.

The new platform will transmit on W3 at 7° E with an initial transmission capacity of 34 Mbps already partly purchased by Euphon - a commitment that will rapidly grow. On request, users will also have freedom of access to services, even on an occasional-use basis. With an eye on the Olympic Games to be held in Turin in 2006, the platform will provide a valid telecommunications infrastructure capable of distributing signals to all competition venues, the Olympic village and to remote sites in every corner of Europe and neighbouring regions. The traffic peaks generated by such a large-scale event will present no problem whatsoever.

The Turin platform will be integrated with a fully bidirectional hub based on standard systems of the DVB-RCS type. These will offer businesses the most sophisticated network services, totally independent from the terrestrial network over a vast geographical area of major interest for Italian companies, particularly those in the north-west. Access to the platform will be facilitated by the connectivity available in Turin. In addition, DAMA DSAT 2000 satellite terminals will be able to handle connections of up to 4 Mbps; even reaching sites that cannot be reached by other digital links.

Arduino Patacchini, Director of Eutelsat's Multimedia Department, is a confirmed supporter of this initiative: "It is an excellent example of Eutelsat’s strategy, which aims to encourage the use of satellite access for businesses and professional users by setting up platforms with local partners, capable of being fully operational very quickly and providing a vast range of value-added services."

Signing the agreement, Eutelsat’s CEO, Giuliano Berretta, stated: "This contract shows Eutelsat's commitment to encouraging the development of companies through innovative satellite services, which will make it possible to ease internal communications and improve message delivery via a satellite network capable of reaching every corner of the continent of Europe and also into North Africa. The agreement opens new horizons for companies in Piedmont and it is no coincidence that our service is called OPENSKY™. The 7° E orbital position is of strategic importance for us, and the W3 satellite will soon be joined by another, W3A, providing wide and powerful coverage both in the Ku and Ka bands specific to Europe and to Italy, but encompassing also the whole Mediterranean region, the Middle East and the entire African continent. "


About OPENSKY

OPENSKY is a new platform introduced by Eutelsat in April 2001 which delivers streaming media and multimedia as well as high-speed Internet access either direct-to-home or through a point-of-presence. An open standard system, OPENSKY gives content and service providers an IP/DVB network infrastructure with reduced operational costs and almost unlimited bandwidth. Through this, they can deliver video and audio files, video on demand, push services and ultimately personal broadcasting that will enable users to uplink their own videos for distribution to their own closed communities.

OPENSKY runs from Eutelsat’s W3 satellite at 7 degrees East. It was initially introduced in Italy and presently carries around 50 videostreaming services at speeds from 256 to 700 kilobits/s using MPEG4 encapsulated over IP. Users need a satellite dish and PC equipped with an add-in card to receive these new services and can select between accessing content on-line or retrieving content delivered by satellite and stored in their PC in off-line mode.


About Eutelsat

Eutelsat is one of the world’s most established and experienced providers of satellite communications solutions and expertise on a global basis. Headquartered in Paris, its team of 360 people from 23 countries manages a satellite infrastructure that assures delivery of consumer television and radio, Internet access and multimedia entertainment, IP business solutions, corporate network solutions and professional communications applications. On July 2 2001 Eutelsat changed legal status into a limited liability company (société anonyme) under French law. Revenues grew to €686 million in 2000.

For further information contact:

Kelly Grant or Magdalen Bush at Key Communications
Telephone: 020 7580 0222
Email: kelly.grant@keycommunications.co.uk or magdalen.bush@keycommunications.co.uk



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