Eutelsat to announce two more deals for DTT transition in Africa

    • Q. Can you briefly present Eutelsat operations in Africa?
    • A. Eutelsat is one of the three global satellite operators and I head the video development business. Eutelsat have a very strong position in Africa with more than 50% market share and we distribute around 12000 channels.

    • Q. The hot topic in Africa is digital migration process which is still ongoing what are your thought on the subject?
    • A. This topic is not new as 10 years ago, it was already an important subject of discussion. However, it’s still a challenge and it is driven by the private sector as the public actors can be tied due to infrastructure cost, political and content issues. Eutelsat is trying with both private and public parties to drive this migration and we have deals with Ethiopia, Gabon and Zimbabwe. We hope to announce two more countries in the coming weeks. The key favourable for us is the fact that satellite is far more cost effective than any other solution thus giving us an advantaging edge.

    • Q. What are the major setbacks you have encounter during the Digital Migration?
    • A. Unfortunately, not much has changed in the digital migration process for the last 10 years. The major setback is that governments in Africa are not following their agenda. We need a clear roadmap and a path to follow in order not deviate from our main objectives. However, governments in Africa have understood that a combination of both terrestrial and satellite will allow faster and cheaper delivery. Finally, we have seen that relevant content is a key factor to advance toward the completion of the digital migration process.

    • Q. Ethiopia has selected Eutelsat for the launch of Ethiosat, can you briefly explain the project?
    • A. The goal of Ethiosat is to stop having Ethiopian channels over different satellites and to regroup them on one satellite. This will allow the population to get all their channels with one dish instead of three. It’s a big step toward the digitalisation of the country, but we have to admit that terrestrial network will never disappear for political reasons. The African governments will not allow a private operator to control the media landscape, all we can get is a good percentage of the total coverage via satellite.

    • Q. Is it not dangerous to have all channels on one satellite, if it gets damage, there is the risk of losing the signals?
    • A. We are prepared for this eventuality and have back-up satellites in place which only take few minutes to transmit the signal. For the consumers, a technical defect will only result in a short black-out then the transmission will resume. However, in the last 10 or 15 years, we only had two satellites failures, so we assume that there is only a low probability for this event to happen.

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