Described by international operator Eutelsat as a major contribution to reducing the digital divide in Africa and Europe, Eutelsat’s KONNECT satellite is now ready to ship to its launch site with a launch planned for mid-January 2020.
The all-electric KONNECT communications satellite, built by Thales Alenia Space, the joint company between multi-sector technology giant Thales (67 percent) and high-tech aerospace, defence and security company Leonardo (33 percent) for Eutelsat Communications, is now undergoing final preparation prior to being shipped to the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana.
KONNECT will provide high-speed internet services for markets in Africa and Western Europe. Offering total capacity of 75 Gbps, by next autumn this satellite will allow the operator to provide internet access services for both companies and individuals at up to 100 Mbps. In Africa it will also allow several users to share an internet connection via public Wi-Fi hotspots – a service sold via coupons that can be paid on users’ mobile phones.
The KONNECT satellite will, says Eutelsat, also play a lead role in bridging the digital divide in Africa and Europe. The next major step forward will come in 2022 with the introduction of the KONNECT VHTS (very high throughput satellite), also under construction by Thales Alenia Space.
The new satellite features all-electric propulsion and operates in Ka-band. It is the first to use Thales Alenia Space’s all-electric Spacebus NEO platform, developed under the Neosat Partnership Project conducted by the European and French space agencies ESA and CNES.