It hasn't exactly been all that long since Avanti Communications' Hylas 1 satellite blasted off at the end of November, but it's now almost ready to start spreading some wireless broadband across 16 countries in Europe. Avanti just announced today that the satellite's in-orbit testing phase has been a "complete success," and that it will go into service sometime next week with an initial test group of customers, before beginning a broader transition on April 4th. All told, over 60 operators have signed up to offer the satellite broadband service to customers, which promises to offer connections of up to 10Mbps to folks in even the most rural areas. It's also only just the beginning -- Avanti plans to launch Hylas 2 sometime in the second quarter of 2012, which will extend its coverage to Africa and the Middle East.

[Thanks, Brett]
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Completion of In Orbit Testing and Service Launch - Contract Win

15 March, 2011 - 09:51

Avanti Communications Group plc (LSE: AIM), the broadband satellite operator, is pleased to report that it formally completed in orbit testing of the HYLAS 1 satellite yesterday.

The testing process confirmed that HYLAS 1 is working in conformance with specification and, in some areas, delivering higher performance than originally specified. The satellite lifetime is expected to be at least six months greater than planned and the available power is several percentage points better than specification. This will translate into improved service quality, flexibility and usable capacity.

The provision of services on HYLAS 1 will now commence. The first live customer service in the UK will be installed next week. Avanti has a test customer base of 5,000 end users whose service is delivered with leased Ku band capacity. The migration of these customers to HYLAS 1 will begin on April 4th. Avanti has over 60 Virtual Network Operator customers in 16 countries in Europe who have bought capacity. Many of them are also migrating existing end user customers from leased Ku band capacity on other satellites and this migration also begins on April 4th.

Commenting, David Williams, Chief Executive of Avanti Communications, said:
"The in orbit testing phase of HYLAS 1 has been a complete success and puts us in a strong position for future growth.
"With Europe's first fully operational broadband satellite, Avanti will now provide a range of satellite data communications services to consumers, enterprise and governmental organisations across the UK and Europe. In such a vast market with so much growth in data demand, and a strong customer base already committed, we are highly confident of achieving rapid commercial success for this powerful and flexible satellite."
Contract Win

Avanti is also pleased to announce that yesterday it signed a seven year contract with a new Virtual Network Operator Customer for the sale of 80 Mb of capacity (with volume beginning at a lower level in year one and rising to 80Mb to match the Customer's expansion in end users). The contract, which commands pricing which exceeds market expectations, is worth €7.1m over the seven year term. The customer has approximately 3,000 satellite broadband end user installations in Europe which currently use Ku band capacity on a competitors' satellite. The Customer will migrate that existing client base to HYLAS 1 and then grow its business further with Avanti. For reasons of commercial sensitivity during this migration period the Customer is not named.

Commenting on the contract win, David Williams, Chief Executive of Avanti Communications, said:
"The signing of this contract is significant since it further demonstrates that expert customers in Europe choose to work with Avanti. We offer a flexible, service oriented approach and reliable and well regarded technology. Avanti has announced a steady flow of contract wins in the last two years which underpins our confidence in fully utilising our satellites at attractive prices."

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Hylas 1 completes testing, Europe's first broadband satellite to start serving customers next week