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Dedicated line to the universe

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HB TOULOUSE. Who lives secluded in the country tried so far even in Germany, often in vain for a fast and affordable Internet connection. In a few months a new satellite help. The high-tech device known simply as Ka-Sat is the biggest and most powerful of its type. With a capacity of up to 40 conventional satellite TV can offer in Europe, two million people a quick access to the data network. In Germany alone, hopes the satellite operator Eutelsat to 200 000 customers.

In Germany there are still many households in rural areas, which have no quick access to the Internet. Eutelsat occurs with the offer in direct competition with telecom – companies that want to fill the gaps on the DSL coverage in Germany with the next mobile standard LTE.

In Toulouse, France, currently the last preparations for the space launch of the 350 million euro project. On the grounds of the space company EADS Astrium, the engineers make the final tests before the 5.8-ton satellite in late November to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan will be sent. "It is one of the largest and most complex satellites that we’ve ever built," says the competent Astrium – Manager Aziz Bouhia. About 30 percent of the satellite is "Made in Germany". Among other spin-Astrium in Ottobrunn near Munich, Lampoldshausen and Bremen have been delivered.

The quantum leap compared with the current Internet by satellite in particular to allow a better distribution of data streams. Rather than to emit the requested information from a single Internet users throughout Europe, Ka-Sat will be limited to circular areas with a diameter of 250 kilometers. Of these there are 82, so still all over Europe and even parts of North Africa are covered. The multi-spot technique is also of interest to regional TV stations, for which there was previously a waste of capacity, to be broadcast via satellite.

The main target group are, however, with broadband connections or even in unserved areas. "About 13 million households in Europe receive via conventional terrestrial technology currently no quick access to the Internet," says the charge of the project, Eutelsat’s director, Jean-François Fremaux.

The Federal Economics Ministry estimates that have early next year to 1.5 percent of German households have a very bad Internet connection. As fast enough, however, is already a connection to a data transfer rate of one megabit per second. Ka-Sat will allow the Internet users download speeds of ten megabits per second and upload speeds up to four megabits per second.

Eutelsat’s rival Astra, the project stretched, but plans for the time being not a pure Ka-band satellites. "We want to remain flexible and proceed in stages," it says of the company, based in Luxembourg. Experts point out that no one knows if there will not soon be even cheaper ways to provide in remote areas, high speed internet.

The cost of the new satellite Internet will be similar, according to Eutelsat to those of a normal DSL connection. Additional factors are the purchase price for the bowl and technology, will be without funding probably 300-400 €.