Tirana (Albania) / Luxembourg, 24 January 2011. – SES ASTRA, an SES company (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG), announced today that it will provide the Albanian Post with its satellite broadband service ASTRA2Connect to offer customers free internet access in rural areas throughout the country. In addition, ASTRA2Connect will be used by the Albanian Post for its daily operations. Together with Starsat, the ASTRA2Connect distribution partner in Albania, a broadband access via SES ASTRA’s innovative satellite broadband platform was installed in 300 out of 550 post offices.
The Albanian Post is the first postal operator to use the ASTRA2Connect satellite technology on such a wide scale. With the new service, citizens in rural regions of Albania will get access to fast and reliable communication via the internet. A satellite broadband terminal in the post offices allows them to use the internet for business and communication activities, such as internet browsing, e-mail, e-commerce, e-learning, e-payments and VoIP telephony. The project is a cornerstone of the government program “Digital Albania” which was launched in 2005.
SES ASTRA’s satellite-based broadband service ASTRA2Connect is offered via distribution partners to end customers and businesses in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The service is independent from any terrestrial networks and is immediately available anywhere within the footprint of the satellite. To date, ASTRA2Connect has more than 70,000 end-users in Europe, thereby representing the largest satellite-based broadband network on the continent.
“We are honored that the Albanian Post has decided to trust our successful satellite service ASTRA2Connect,” said Norbert Hölzle, Chief Commercial Officer at SES ASTRA. “The technology is highly reliable, yet easy and fast to install. The internet has become an essential tool for social and economic activities, and every citizen should have access to it. We are proud to be able to support the digital progress in Albania with our solution.”
The Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha praised the project as “a major event in the history of our endeavour for ‘Digital Albania’.” With the satellite broadband solution, “the Albanian Post has managed to become an important service provider valued by all citizens of Albania.”
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About SES ASTRA
SES ASTRA is the leading Direct-to-Home (DTH) satellite system in Europe. The satellite fleet currently comprises 16 satellites. The ASTRA satellite system delivers services to more than 125 million DTH and cable households and transmits more than 2,600 television and radio channels. SES ASTRA also provides satellite-based multimedia, internet and telecommunication services to enterprises, governments and their agencies. With 190 High Definition (HD) channels, ASTRA represents the most important HDTV platform for Europe's leading broadcasters. The prime orbital positions for ASTRA are 19.2° East, 28.2° East, 23.5° East, 5° East and 31.5° East. For further information: www.ses-astra.com.
SES (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG) wholly owns the market-leading satellite operators SES ASTRA and SES WORLD SKIES, and participations in Ciel in Canada, QuetzSat in Mexico as well as a strategic participation in satellite infrastructure start-up O3b Networks. SES provides outstanding satellite communications solutions via a global fleet of 44 satellites. For further information: www.ses.com
Starsat International sh.p.k. is a satellite services provider and has been offering satellite-based broadband and data services to customers in Albania, the Kosovo and Macedonia since 2003. With extensive experience in all kinds of satellite systems and a wide range of service providers, Starsat will always find the right solution for each of its customers’ requirements. For further information: www.starsat-international.net