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Satellite broadband: the story so far

Laurence Doe takes a look at a market making an impact from outer space

The first communication satellite Telstar 1 was designed by US telecommunications company AT&T and launched on 10 July 1962. It has been a long time coming, but now satellite companies such as Avanti Communications are making the UK a leader in the multi-million pound satellite communication market.

The London-based business launched its first broadband satellite HYLAS 1 (Highly Adaptable Satellite) into space in 2010. HYLAS 1 used the latest high-frequency Ka- band technology to deliver high-speed data services to customers across Europe.

“At the time this was quite a bold move because the satellite industry had not yet embraced the use of this new high frequency,” says David Williams, chief executive of Avanti in a statement to the government. “As a result, Avanti and its peers now own more Ka-band satellites than any other country on Earth.” Satellite communications is a market segment where the UK really is taking a global lead. Avanti has launched HYLAS 2 and HYLAS 3 to cover Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and it will increase capacity for Africa further with the launch of HYLAS 4 in 2017.

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