iSAT Africa partners with Eutelsat for FTA broadcasting in Kenya and East Africa

Friday, September 12th, 2014
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iSAT Africa and Eutelsat Partner on Accelerating Access to Free-to-Air Digital Channels in Kenya and across East Africa

  • iSAT, part of Wananchi Group, launches a subscription-free TV platform for Kenya on EUTELSAT 70B satellite

NAIROBI, Kenya & PARIS — IBC2014 — iSAT Africa announces it has selected to partner with Eutelsat Communications (Paris:ETL) (NYSE Euronext Paris: ETL) on free-to-air delivery of African and international digital channels in Kenya and across East Africa in order to accelerate the move towards a fully digital broadcasting environment in the region.

iSAT and Eutelsat will use the high-power African service area of the EUTELSAT 70B satellite to broadcast a platform of channels to digital headends and on a DTH basis to homes beyond range of terrestrial reception.

The first channels were launched by iSAT on September 1. They include Family TV and K24 that are multiplexed in a DVB-S2 platform and uplinked from iSAT’s teleport in Nairobi to Ku-band capacity on EUTELSAT 70B. Homes receiving the platform on a DTH basis can pick up channels without subscription using a maximum 90cm antenna and a digital free-to-air box that can be purchased off the shelf.

iSAT Africa has also agreed terms with Eutelsat for use of C-band capacity on the EUTELSAT 3B satellite for contributing channels to the Nairobi teleport where they can be aggregated into the platform. The C-band footprint on EUTELSAT 3B embraces Africa, the Middle East, Europe and South America, covering a vast catchment area of broadcasters.

Eutelsat and iSAT Africa are combining their respective skills for this new venture in East Africa: Eutelsat bringing its extensive experience of DTT delivery in Europe and North Africa, including in France, Ireland, Italy and Algeria, and iSAT Africa its track record and reputation as a leading satellite service provider and video system integrator in Africa.

Rakesh Kukreja, MD of iSAT Africa, commented: “We are delighted with our partnership with Eutelsat whereby iSAT provides complete technical platform and system integration for media houses and Eutelsat provides satellite capacity and video expertise. We envisage that media houses in Africa will see digital migration as an opportunity to expand across more territories and therefore increase viewership. This is a great opportunity for any media house to cover the East Africa community and more than 160 million Swahili-speaking people using a single uplink located in Africa. This will allow media houses to outsource technical service delivery and focus on their core business of content management. Eutelsat is a great company to work with as we received full support on both solution and technical fronts.”

Michel Azibert, Chief Commercial & Development Officer of Eutelsat, added: “Eutelsat’s infrastructure has played a key role in digital transition in Europe and today, for example, enables over four million homes beyond range of terrestrial networks in France and Italy to benefit from quality free-to-view reception of a diverse range of channels. We are delighted that the reach and performance of EUTELSAT 70B meets the requirements of Wananchi, a highly experienced media company, and to have this new opportunity to demonstrate the contribution of satellites for achieving the transition to digital.”

Visit Eutelsat at IBC from 12 – 16 September Hall 1 – Stand D59