Comcast Renews, Expands Capacity Agreement with SES

SES announced that Comcast Wholesale has renewed and expanded key agreements for nearly 650 MHz of C-band capacity to deliver a broad range of content management and delivery solutions to media companies across North America.

As part of the multi-year deal, Comcast Wholesale continues to utilize 16 transponders aboard the AMC-18 satellite and one transponder on the AMC-1 spacecraft and has contracted one additional transponder on this spacecraft. The capacity enables Comcast to provide cable programmers, multiple system operators and independent cable operators access to linear and on-demand content distribution solutions, including Comcast’s HITS (Headend in the Sky) platform. The Comcast Media Center on-demand programming distribution will be transitioned from AMC-1 to the new SES-3 satellite in 2014.

SES-1 at 101 degrees West, AMC-1 at 103 degrees West and AMC-18 at 105 degrees West make up SES’s expanding cable video distribution neighborhood at their locations in the center of the arc over North America. AMC-18 has played an integral role supporting the HITS platform since 2007, when Comcast Wholesale moved its innovative platform from Ku-band to C-band.

“This agreement marks the latest milestone in a long-term, collaborative partnership between Comcast Wholesale and SES that has always strived to meet the evolving needs and demands of the media and entertainment industry,” explains Ferdinand Kayser, Chief Commercial Officer of SES. “Comcast Wholesale has long been an engine for innovation for the cable industry with its HITS solution aimed at helping independent operators compete in a fiercely contested market. SES is honored to renew and expand our alliance with Comcast Wholesale with a constant eye on the future.”

“The ever-changing industry landscape requires a new level of expertise and outside-the-box thinking that SES has always brought to the table in support of our solutions,” says Leslie Russell, Vice President and General Manager HITS. “We have the right satellite distribution partner to deliver our comprehensive services portfolio, ranging from linear to on-demand to network origination services.”

In addition, Arianespace informed the company that the launch of the ASTRA 5B satellite will be delayed to January 2014.

The reason is the non-availability of ASTRA 5B’s co-passenger satellite for launch on board an Ariane 5 booster from the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guyana, previously scheduled for December 6, 2013.

The ASTRA 5B spacecraft, which arrived in Kourou on November 6, 2013 in order to be readied for launch, will now be put into safe storage until the launch preparations can resume.

ASTRA 5B was built by EADS Astrium in Toulouse, France, based on the highly reliable Eurostar E3000 platform. The satellite will be located at the orbital position of 31.5 degrees East and is equipped with 40 Ku-band transponders (36 MHz equivalent) as well as 6 Ka-band transponders. ASTRA 5B will extend SES’ transponder capacity and geographical reach over Eastern European and neighbouring markets for DTH, direct-to-cable and contribution feeds to digital terrestrial television networks. The spacecraft also carries a hosted L-band payload for the European Commission’s European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS).

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