Deutsche Telekom has contracted with Paris-based Eutelsat Communications to deliver high-speed satellite broadband to rural regions of Germany, beginning at the end of 2021.
The service will be delivered via the Eutelsat Konnect satellite, which has been in service since November 2020. It has a total capacity of 75 Gbps and is capable of offering speeds of up to 100 Mbps to homes and businesses. Its coverage includes all of Germany as well as 14 other European countries.
Under the agreement, Deutsche Telekom will commercialize Eutelsat Konnect high-speed broadband internet for households and businesses in Germany with limited internet connections.
DT and Eutelsat are currently piloting an initial deployment in the city of Heimerzheim where the fixed broadband network was badly affected by the floods in July. Emergency connectivity has been established in Heimerzheim via satellite connection providing a wireless local area network (WLAN) for relief workers and affected residents, who can access the internet free of charge.
Deutsche Telekom and Eutelsat are also discussing an expansion of their relationship, where in the future DT might offer its own products via Eutelsat’s infrastructure.
Eutelsat CEO Rodolphe Belmer said in a statement, “Following the agreements with Orange in France and TIM in Italy, this is another significant milestone strengthening our go-to-market strategy in a third major market in Europe.”
André Almeida, DT’s managing director of private customers, said,“Our ambition is to be the leader in both fixed and mobile communications. Our fiber roll-out remains one of the key building blocks for digitization in Germany. The cooperation with Eutelsat is a perfect complement of our portfolio in the coming years to offer highspeed broadband via satellite in regions where we have no high speed currently and for remote areas.”
Satellite in Europe
Earlier this year, Eutelsat announced that it was buying a 24% share in OneWeb, The London-based LEO satellite venture.
Currently, Europe is a global leader in satellite operation, as home to the headquarters of three of the major players: Eutelsat, SES and Inmarsat.
But Elon Musk’s Starlink could introduce new satellite competition in Europe.
The digital divide
Interest in satellite broadband, particularly low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellite, has been picking up steam. Covid caused a recognition that everyone needs the internet, and we need to close the digital divide. Satellite is a promising technology to reach unserved and underserved areas.
Besides all the press about SpaceX’s Starlink, another American company — AST SpaceMobile — is also gaining recognition.
The key thing that distinguishes AST Space Mobile from other satellite companies that are scrambling to offer broadband service is that AST’s technology connects directly to the mobile handsets. End customers do not have to buy any additional equipment, have any special infrastructure installed or buy any special smartphones.