Eutelsat Skips Out on Viasat Deal, Orders VHTS from Thales
Eutelsat has passed on a potential deal with Viasat for use of its ViaSat 3 satellite, instead ordering a new Very High Throughput Satellite (VHTS) system from Thales Alenia Space. The satellite, which will enter service in 2021, will have a Ka-band capacity of 500 Gbps.
Eutelsat was previously considering striking an agreement with Viasat to use the yet-launched ViaSat 3 satellite to expand its coverage over Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). The French operator has opted now to build and launch an entirely new satellite, called Konnect VHTS.
According to Eutelsat, the satellite will launch with firm multi-year distribution commitments from both Thales and Orange. It signed a retail partnership with Orange to address the fixed broadband market in European countries, and a distribution partnership with Thales to serve the government connectivity services market.
Despite the failed deal, Viasat President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Rick Baldridge said the company’s capital plan remains unaffected, as there was no binding agreement yet forged with Eutelsat.
The two companies also closed a broadband joint venture in March 2017 that gave Viasat joint ownership of Eutelsat’s Ka-Sat satellite. Eutelsat’s decision will have no impact on this existing contract, Baldridge said.