New Skies' NSS-7 satellite enters commercial service

New Skies' NSS-7 Atlantic Ocean region satellite entered into commercial service for premiere broadcast, Internet and telecom customers on 30 May. 

The milestone, says the global satellite communications company, was capped by a multi-year agreement with BT Broadcast Services, one of the world's leading broadcast solutions providers, to launch a new African direct-to-home (DTH) television service for Media Overseas, a unit of Vivendi Universal's group.

The two companies will deliver a fully integrated, end-to-end service, using BT's owned and operated Pont de Sevres Teleport in Paris and New Skies' high-powered NSS-7 Ku-band capacity, says an official release. BT will uplink Media Overseas' digital programming packages in Paris to a full transponder on NSS-7's Ku-band Africa spot beam for direct broadcast to consumer households throughout Cameroon, Cte d'Ivoire and Senegal.

NSS-7 successfully completed in-orbit testing and entered commercial service on May 30. The satellite, which was built by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems and launched on 16 April 2002, operates from 338.5 degrees east longitude over the Atlantic Ocean. NSS-7 features nearly 3,500 MHz of capacity spread over 36 C-band and 36 Ku-band transponders. In addition, capacity can be flexibly assigned to eleven high-powered coverage beams, blanketing the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, according to a company release.

NSS-7 was designed to replace the NSS-K and NSS-803 satellites at 338.5 degrees east, combining the extensive television and Internet traffic from the two satellites to debut as a premier video and IP neighborhood in the Atlantic Ocean region. With NSS-7 now operational, New Skies is currently transitioning customers from NSS-K and NSS-803. The company expects to complete the process by late August.

Media Overseas deputy managing director Arnaud de Villeneuve says:"We are especially pleased that the service was up and running on NSS-7 in time for the first match of the World Cup between France and Senegal on May 31, enabling subscribers to watch Senegal's victory in digital-quality video and audio."

New Skies' senior vice president of sales and marketing, Rudo Jockin says NSS-7 will serve as a major transmission platform for broadcasters, cable programmers, news agencies, ISPs, corporate enterprises, rural telecommunication networks, and direct-to-home television operators. 

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