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France Telecom to tap into satellites

08 апреля 2008

France Telecom has struck partnership deals with two leading European satellite operators, under which the French telecoms company will offer television services to consumers in France, Poland and Spain.

Analysts said France Telecom was the first major European telecoms company to sell satellite TV.


“France Telecom is boldly going where no one has gone before,” said Francois Godard, an analyst with Enders Analysis.

France Telecom’s Orange internet TV service is the largest in Europe, with 1.2m customers in France. It also has more limited TV services in Poland and Spain.

The company announced it would launch six new subscription channels in France that would launch this autumn.

Hervé Payan, a senior vice-president at France Telecom, said the company would sell satellite TV in partnership with Eutelsat and SES Astra from this summer to customers who could not enjoy its Orange internet TV service because of inadequate fixed-line broadband download speeds.

Eutelsat will be the operator for France Telecom’s French and Polish satellite TV services, while SES Astra will fulfil the same role for Spain.

Existing France Telecom customers receive their Orange TV service over copper phone wires that the company makes suitable for transmission of digital data using ADSL technology.

But Mr Payan said about 50 per cent of the French population could not enjoy broadband download speeds of 3 to 4 megabits per second that were necessary for the Orange TV service.

He added that France Telecom had therefore decided to offer satellite TV through partnership deals with operators such as Eutelsat.

In February, France Telecom secured TV broadcast rights to some of France’s Ligue One football games, and wants to maximise sales from the deal. “In order to have quick coverage of the population, we need to complement ADSL with satellite,” said Mr Payan.

France Telecom is running trials of optical fibre in 11 French cities including Paris which will increase broadband download speeds far beyond those available with ADSL technology over copper wires, but the company has made no commitment to a nationwide roll-out.

Mr Godard said France Telecom’s TV broadcast rights for football rights should enable it to woo customers of Canal+, the pay TV company controlled by Vivendi, the French conglomerate.

Источник: Financial Times

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