Monday, September 3, 2007

Eutelsat and ViaSat to Launch "Tooway" Satellite Service in Germany

Eutelsat Communications and ViaSat are preparing to launch a satellite-based, consumer broadband service in Germany beginning at the end of this month. Additional European markets will be added later this year.

The new "Tooway" service is being delivered using the Ka-band spot beam capacity on Eutelsat's HOT BIRD 6 satellite at 13 degrees East. It will also be available via Ku-band capacity on the EUROBIRD 3 satellite. The Ka and Ku-band hubs with equipment supplied by ViaSat to manage Tooway are now fully commissioned and ready for service at Skylogic's SkyPark teleport in Turin, Italy.

Three different service grades will be provided in Ka-band and Ku-band with the initial offer delivering maximum downlink speeds of up to 2.048 Mbps and maximum uplink speeds of up to 384 kbps. Consumer tariffs and hardware prices will be defined by local service providers partnering in the distribution of the Tooway service.

Tooway's first distribution partners and service providers in Germany are Internetagentur Schott and Teles.

The companies said they will offer access equipment a fraction the cost of existing enterprise-focused satellite services. The Tooway consumer satellite terminal comprises an Outdoor Unit (ODU) and an Indoor Un it (IDU) or modem that interfaces to a PC or home network via a standard Ethernet connection (10/100 Mbps). The ODU consists of a 67cm Ka-band dish or a 96cm Ku-band dish. The Ku-band ODU includes a Low Noise Block (LNB) converter with linear polarization able to receive at speeds up to 4 Mbps. It is also equipped with a 2 Watt amplifier for transmission to the satellite by the consumer at speeds exceeding 1 Mbps. In Ka-band, both the LNB and amplifier are integrated in a high-tech transceiver.

The new service is based on ViaSat's "SurfBeam" DOCSIS two-way broadband satellite system that is already used by more than 250,000 homes in North America. To adapt the DOCSIS standard to satellite, ViaSat has developed a satellite air interface that is seamlessly integrated into DOCSIS headend termination systems. It leverages low cost DOCSIS customer premises chips and software.

  • In 2010, Eutelsat expects to extend its Tooway service offering in partnership with ViaSat by deploying a new, high capacity dedicated Ka-band satellite to 13 East with multiple spotbeams across Europe. It is anticipated that the new satellite will enable much higher speed services.