Avanti Screenmedia Group has signed a contract with the European Space Agency and EADS Astrium Limited for the financing and procurement of its first satellite, named HYLAS.
HYLAS , due for launch in Q4 2008, will provide an equivalent of 40 x 33Mhz transponders of capacity over Europe, which will be used for broadband telecommunications and High Definition Television. HYLAS has a design life of 15 years. It uses new flexible payload technologies which deliver significant operational efficiencies and represent a major advance for the satellite industry in delivering small, low cost, powerful payloads. Avanti expects to launch more satellites to address expected demand.
Commenting, David Williams, Chief Executive of Avanti, said: “This is a marvellous example of what can be achieved when government, industry and the City co-operate. HYLAS is a ground breaking project for the European space industry, driving forward technology and services. It will enable Avanti to provide broadband and HDTV services using new business models and technologies in markets which are highly under-supplied; in the process correcting some significant market failure in relation to the digital divide and analogue television switch-off. It should also provide a good return for our investors, the typical European market price for a transponder is currently in excess of EUR1 million per annum.”
Lord Sainsbury, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Science and Innovation, said: “The British Government has in the last eight years made significant investments in early stage research in Space technology, one of the highest added value sectors we have. This research conducted by our Universities and companies has enabled companies like Avanti and Astrium to bring commercial acumen and the firepower of the City to create a world beating project. This is an excellent case study which shows what public private partnerships can achieve in driving forward the capability and competitiveness of British industry, whilst at the same time solving problems for the benefit of society.”