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Eutelsat Inks $388M Satellite Deal

Europe's largest satellite operator, Eutelsat, said Thursday it had signed a 300 million euro ($388 million) deal with Russia for a 15-year lease of bandwidth on two of its satellites to service the country's fast-growing digital television market.

Eutelsat's CEO Michel de Rosen approved the deal with the state-owned Russian Satellite Communication Company to rent space on its Express-AT2 and Express-AMU1 satellites at a signing in Moscow.

RSCC head Yury Prokhorov said in a statement the deal would "create new services that Russian satellite telecom users want: to view cutting-edge quality TV … as well as have access to telecom service anywhere in the Russian Federation."

The Express-AT2 satellite is due to be launched in 2013 and is expected to provide television and radio broadcast and IP services for Russia's expanding digital television and telecoms market in the Far East.

The Express-AMU1 is set to launch in 2015 and will cover the European part of Russia and sub-Saharan Africa.

The Express orbiters are under construction by satellite-maker ISS Reshetnev and will use a payload supplied by French-led manufacturer Thales Alenia Space.

In a string of failed launches, Russia last year lost the $265-million Express AM-4 satellite, delaying plans to expand digital TV, Internet and telecoms infrastructure.

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