Eutelsat S.A. is the French-based satellite provider. Providing coverage over the entire European continent, as well as the Middle East, Africa, India and parts of Asia and the Americas, it is one of the world's three leading satellite operators in terms of revenues.
Eutelsat's satellites are used for broadcasting 5,800 TV’s, of which 600 are in HD, and 1100 radio stations to over 250 million cable and satellite homes. They also serve requirements for TV contribution services, corporate networks, mobile communications, Internet backbone connectivity and broadband access for terrestrial, maritime and in-flight applications. Eutelsat is headquartered in Paris, France.
The European Telecommunications Satellite Organization (Eutelsat) was originally set up in 1977 as an intergovernmental organization (IGO) to develop and operate a satellite-based telecommunications infrastructure for Europe. It started operations with the launch of its first satellite in 1983.
Initially established to address satellite communications demand in Western Europe, Eutelsat rapidly developed its infrastructure to expand coverage to additional markets, such as Central and Eastern Europe in 1989, and the Middle East, the African continent, and large parts of Asia and the Americas from the 1990s.
Eutelsat was the first satellite operator in Europe to broadcast television channels direct-to-home (DTH). It developed its premium neighborhood of five Hot Bird satellites in the mid-1990s to offer capacity that would be able to attract hundreds of channels to the same orbital location, appealing to widespread audiences for consumer satellite TV.
With the general liberalization of the telecommunications sector in Europe, the IGO’s operations and activities were transferred to a private company called Eutelsat S.A. in July 2001.
In April 2005, the shareholders of Eutelsat S.A. grouped their investment in a new entity (Eutelsat Communications), which is now the holding company of the Group owning 95% of Eutelsat S.A. on October 6, 2005. Currently it owns 96% of Eutelsat S.A.
On 2 January 2014 Eutelsat Communications acquired 100% share in Satélites Mexicanos, S.A. de C.V. (SATMEX) for a $831 million transaction. Based in Mexico, SATMEX operated three satellites at contiguous positions, 113° West (SATMEX-6), 115° West (SATMEX-5) and 117° West (SATMEX-8) that cover 90% of the population of the Americas. SATMEX was renamed in Eutelsat Americas.
In 2012 Eutelsat started a new system for naming its satellites that will see them named around the Eutelsat brand. The satellites will take the Eutelsat name associated with the relevant figure for their orbital position. For example, Eutelsat’s W6 satellite, which is at the 21.5° East orbital location, will become Eutelsat 21A. Its Atlantic Bird-2 satellite will become Eutelsat 8 West A. The same pattern will also apply to the Ka-Sat Satellite.