July 16, 2008
Ses Astra Signs First Deal at New Orbital Position With German Cable Operators
SES ASTRA, an SES company (Paris:SESG) (LuxX:SESG), today announced that it has signed a long-term agreement with a company representing the independent German cable operators to transmit digital Free-to-Air TV to their networks. KabelDienstLeistungsgesellschaft (KDL), which was set up specifically to provide services to the independent cable operators, has contracted two transponders on SES ASTRA's new orbital position at 31.5 degrees East. KDL is the first customer using transponder capacity at this position. In addition to the contracted capacity, ASTRA Platform Services (APS) will provide technical services to KDL via its play-out centre in Unterfohring, near Munich.
The independent cable operators provide TV-signals from their own head ends to several million German households. The cooperation with SES ASTRA enables KDL to offer them an optimized access to digital TV channels called TOPP (Transponder optimized program packages). The service allows a simple and efficient feed of 22 digital free-to-air TV channels into the networks. TOPP also includes the offer by KDL to distribute digital TV receivers to the connected cable households. TOPP is scheduled for launch on 8th of October at the FRK cable congress in Leipzig, Germany.
Alexander Oudendijk, Chief Commercial Officer of SES ASTRA, said: "SES ASTRA has established itself as the prime supplier of signals to cable head-ends in Germany. With this cooperation, we have found a strong partner to drive the necessary digitalisation of the cable networks. We are also very pleased to have closed the first capacity contract for our new orbital position at 31.5 degrees East. This new position will allow us to significantly enlarge and diversify our offer to customers across Europe."
Heinz-Peter Labonte, Managing Director of the Federal German Association of Private and Independent Cable Operators (FRK), said: "The FRK initiated and supported TOPP, because it wanted to offer to the private and independent cable operators who have their own head-ends a solution to provide digital free-to-air programs to their customers, independently from the large regional cable operators such as KDG, Unity Media, KBW or TC/PC/Orion. TOPP helps the private and independent cable operators to compete with the bigger operators and secures competition in the German cable market."
Anett Klose, Managing Director of KDL said: "SES ASTRA has a proven track record as a signal provider for cable head-ends and as a neutral, technical infrastructure provider. The new partnership and the launch of TOPP allow us to offer an attractive selection of digital channels, defined by us in cooperation with the private and independent cable operators to the cable market. This will significantly push the digitalisation of the cable networks in Germany and will help the private and independent cable companies to compete with bigger operators."
About SES ASTRA www.ses-astra.com
SES ASTRA is the leading Direct-to-Home (DTH) satellite system in Europe. The satellite fleet currently comprises 14 ASTRA and two SIRIUS satellites. The combined satellite system delivers services to more than 117 million DTH and cable households and transmits a total of 2,295 analogue and digital television and radio channels. SES ASTRA also provides satellite-based multimedia, internet and telecommunication services to enterprises, governments and their agencies. With 42 High Definition (HD) channels available via its satellites today, ASTRA and SIRIUS represent the most important HDTV broadcasting platform in Europe. The prime orbital positions for ASTRA and SIRIUS are 19.2(degrees) East, 28.2(degrees) East, 23.5(degrees) East, 5(degrees) East and 31.5(degrees) East.
SES ASTRA is an SES company (Paris:SESG) (LuxX:SESG). SES owns three market-leading satellite operators, SES ASTRA in Europe, SES AMERICOM in North America, and SES NEW SKIES which provides global coverage and connectivity. The company owns 90 percent of SES SIRIUS in Europe, as well as strategic participations in Ciel in Canada and Quetzsat in Mexico. SES provides outstanding satellite communications solutions via a fleet of 38 satellites in 25 orbital positions around the globe. Additional information on SES is available at: www.ses.com.
Find more information about Kabeldienstleistungs GmbH at www.kabeldienstleistung.de.
Find more information about FRK at www.kabelverband-frk.de.